This article was featured in the 2023 Autumn Newsletter by Zack Simek-APIPP/SLELO Conservation and GIS Analyst.
Early detection of invasive species greatly increases the opportunity for successful management. Since 2016, SLELO has coordinated a Volunteer Surveillance Network (VSN) to enhance early detection efforts for priority invasive species that are in low abundance or not present in but approaching the PRISM. The VSN is a community science initiative that provides participants with training on how to identify priority species and report their findings using iMapInvasives. As a component of the VSN, online maps are used to show the location of suggested survey sites for each focal species.
Recently, SLELO PRISM updated its VSN webpage with a more modern, user-friendly web mapping experience. The new application provides species identification information and suggested survey sites for six focal species: hemlock woolly adelgid, spotted lanternfly, elm zigzag sawfly, porcelain berry, fanwort, and tench.
Users can navigate species-specific pages to find a suite of information about the target invasives.
One new feature of the web mapping application is a convenient online survey form that can be used to report survey efforts. By selecting a suggested survey site from the map, VSN participants can indicate whether they found the focal species, whether they reported data to iMapInvasives, and the total time spent surveying the location.
In a future update of the VSN web mapping application, we will feature a data dashboard that summarizes the survey efforts of all VSN participants. Additionally, each user will be able to compare their individual contributions against collective survey efforts. Users who submit the most observations will rise up the list and can claim bragging rights as SLELO’s top surveyor!
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