Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s economy, freshwater resources, and native aquatic species. In response, Pennsylvania Sea Grant produced “PA AIS,” an easy-to-use smart phone application. The “PA AIS” app is 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. Illustrations help users learn more about each species to ensure accurate identification, and 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 “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 University.