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STOP AQUATIC INVADERS WITH PA SEA GRANT’S NEW APP – DOWNLOAD IT TODAY!
Aquatic invasive species identification and reporting app “PA AIS”
(ERIE, PA) – Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s economy, freshwater resources, and native aquatic species. Pennsylvania Sea Grant announces, ‘there’s an app for that’ with the launch of “PA AIS,” a new, easy-to-use smart phone application. The “PA AIS” app is now available in the Apple App Store, with an Android version anticipated.
The “PA AIS” app can be used in airplane mode or in areas outside of coverage, making it ideal for use in the field. Users can identify AIS and submit a report to the state AIS coordinator, including the location, severity, and photos of the suspected infestation. Illustrations help users learn more about each species to ensure accurate identification in the field. Prevention tips help educate freshwater enthusiasts such as anglers and boaters about the steps they can take to properly clean gear and ensure that AIS are not transported from one water body to another.
Nearly every watershed in Pennsylvania hosts some type of AIS, which includes algae, plants, fish, invertebrates, pathogens and reptiles. These species are often unknowingly spread from one water body to another via boating or fishing gear, or through the release of aquatic pets that are no longer wanted or suitable for indoor conditions. Once established, AIS can be nearly impossible to eradicate, and control can take an extraordinary amount of time, money, and valuable resources.
“The new app makes it easy for conservation districts, universities, environmental and watershed groups, and individuals to identify AIS in real-time,” said Sara Stahlman, extension leader for PA Sea Grant. “This will take early detection of invasive species to a new level, allowing resource managers in Pennsylvania to easily receive new reports and get a one-up on developing possible rapid response actions.”
Pennsylvania Sea Grant has developed AIS identification and prevention materials, trained resources managers on identification, prevention, and rapid response actions. The “PA AIS” app is a follow-up to the “Pennsylvania Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species,” a printed resource developed to assist natural resource agency staff identify AIS in the field.
“The print version of the AIS field guide has been wildly successful, with two revisions and several mass printings in just seven years,” said Stahlman. “The app includes all the of the information of the 150-page guide, accessible on your phone at any time.”
A downloadable version of the print field guide, species-specific fact sheets, prevention tools and printable posters, and many other AIS educational resources are available online at the Pennsylvania Sea Grant website http://seagrant.psu.edu.
The “PA AIS” app was made possible through a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources, and is administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Behrend. For more information, visit http://seagrant.psu.edu.
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