Oregon iMapInvasives Data Leads to Treatment of Two New Noxious Weed Sites
Article written by Lindsey Wise, Oregon iMapInvasives Data Administrator
The Oregon iMapInvasives program, managed by the Institute for Natural Resources within the School of the Environment at Portland State University, has been collecting information on invasive species locations throughout the state since 2010. Data comes from a variety of partners including federal agencies, local managers, and other database programs such as USGS Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species and the Oregon Flora Project. This comprehensive statewide dataset has been used by managers for prioritizing surveys and treatment areas and by researchers studying the potential impacts and spread of invasive species.
Mat-grass (Nardus stricta), a noxious weed in the U.S. and Canada, is being managed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture at two new sites in Oregon, thanks to reports from iMapInvasives.
Having statewide invasive species data from a multitude of sources in one location has also had important impacts to on-the-ground management for the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). As Oregon's weed regulatory agency, ODA manages Oregon's noxious weed list, assists other agencies with weed management, and researches control methods and implementation. Through the data sharing partnership between ODA's WeedMapper and iMapInvasives, ODA learned of two new populations of the List A noxious weed mat-grass (Nardus stricta). Previously, ODA had known of only one population in Klamath County in southern-central Oregon; the new sites were in very different parts of the state: in Curry County on the south coast and Clatsop County on the north coast. Thanks to reporting of mat-grass sites through iMapInvasives, these two populations are now being actively managed by ODA and local partners.
The Clatsop County location was reported through the Oregon iMapInvasives site by the North Coast Land Conservancy (NCLC), which is using iMapInvasives to manage their weed assessment and treatment data. The iMapInvasives site automatically sends an email alert to the observer and the data administrator when a species is reported in an area for the first time (what is called a "significant record report"). Recognizing mat-grass as a List A species, the Oregon iMapInvasives administrator forwarded the report to ODA who immediately followed up with NCLC.
The Curry County location was first reported through a herbarium collection made in 1996 and stored at Oregon State University. In a testament to the importance of getting the right information into the right hands, it took nearly 10 years for this report to make its way from the herbarium to the Oregon Flora Project database, to iMapInvasives, and finally to ODA who recognized the importance of the sighting and took action.
Even in the information age when so much is available digitally, our partnerships, connections, and perceptions are what is needed to put this information to good use. Without its network of knowledgeable and collaborative resource managers, agencies, and citizens, Oregon's economy and its native habitats would be at much greater risk from invasive species.