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Just search “PA AIS Field Guide” to Download Today!

March 2023

(ERIE, PA) – Pennsylvania Sea Grant and Skyward App Company are pleased to announce the launch of the “PA AIS Field Guide” app (PA AIS) – for Android users. The “PA AIS” app was originally launched in 2019 for iPhone users, with 585 downloads.

Today, Android users can now download the valuable identification and reporting tool via the Google Play Store as well as the App Store on your mobile device. Just search for “PA AIS Field Guide”.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are found in nearly every watershed in Pennsylvania. Species such as fish, plants, reptiles, and even algae or pathogens can be considered AIS. They are often unknowingly spread from one water body to another through outdoor activities like boating or fishing, or by the release of aquarium pets. Once established, eradicating them can be burdensome and extraordinarily expensive.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant works throughout the Commonwealth on AIS issues, serves on the Governor’s Invasive Species Council, trains natural resource managers, and develops and distributes tools like the app, to educate and prevent the spread of AIS.

The “PA AIS” app helps users learn more about commonly found aquatic invasive species and offers tools to accurately identify them in real time. Users can also notify state conservation officials of the suspected species, location, and severity of the infestation right from the app. This real time notification gives officials the details needed to investigate the sighting and begin remediation planning.    

“The “PA AIS” app for iPhone has been downloaded 585 times since we launched it in 2019. It makes it easy for anyone to identify AIS in real-time,” said Sara Stahlman, extension leader for Pennsylvania Sea Grant. “The new version will give Android users the opportunity to participate and help stop aquatic invaders.”

Both the iPhone and Android versions were developed by Skyward App Company, a software development and data integration company based in Columbia, Maryland.

“This is the type of application development project we love,” said Kat Crawford, Skyward App Company CEO. “Containing the spread of aquatic invasive species is critical both to our ecosystem and to our economy. It also uses technology for the purpose it’s intended: to simplify tasks, engage users, create efficiencies, accelerate results, and make things possible that were not before. We are grateful to Pennsylvania Sea Grant for the opportunity to work with them on this fantastic project.”

The app is a companion to the “Pennsylvania Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species,” a printed field guide first launched in 2013. In addition to the identification and reporting tools, the guide and the app also feature prevention tips to help anglers and boaters to properly clean their gear and ensure that AIS are not transported elsewhere.

“The print version of the AIS field guide has been very successful, with three revisions and several mass printings in ten years,” said Stahlman. “The app includes all of the information in the 150-page guide, accessible on your phone at any time.”

The “PA AIS” app was made possible through a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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