OLYMPIA – If you see an infestation of giant hogweed or a creature that looks like a wild pig but isn’t, who should you call?
The Washington Invasive Species Council just made it easier for concerned people to report non-native, invasive plants and wildlife with the launch of the WA Invasives app.
With a few taps, you can take a photograph, collect geographic information and send your invasive species report directly to the Invasive Species Council. It will be verified by experts and then posted on a statewide map contained in the app.
The app, for Apple and Android devices, is free. It has been designed to provide information to identify 50 of the most threatening invasive species in and around Washington and allow for easy reporting to the Invasive Species Council.
“Early reporting means quick and early action to eradicate invasive species before they cause widespread damage,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which provides support to the council. “But we need everyone’s help to map where the invaders are. That will give the council and other state agencies a better sense of where to target their efforts.”
Invasive species outcompete native plants and animals, interfere with commercial harvest and result in millions of dollars in costs to control and undo damages. The Invasive Species Council was set up in 2006 to provide strategic direction and coordination to combat harmful invasive species throughout the state and to prevent the introduction of new, potentially harmful species.