Upcoming workshop teaches how to map and track invasive species

In early July 2012, Asian clam shells were spotted in Turtle Bay of Otisco Lake by an Otisco Lake Preservation Association member. The alert went to Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga, and the presence of Asian clam was later confirmed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Using the iMapInvasives program, a report and map of the exact locations was made to alert the general public and initiate a regional action plan.

In early September, Cayuga County Planning Department and Onondaga County Department of Health investigated further and found live clams in two areas of Otisco Lake, confirming that thriving colonies of the aquatic invader are polluting another Finger Lake. With Asian clams now occupying lakes to the East and West of Skaneateles, rapid reporting is the best means we have to prevent, contain and respond to this new threat.

On Oct. 18, CCE will teach anyone with basic computer skills how to use iMap to report new finds.

iMapInvasives New York is the complete invasive species database for the state. It offers downloadable public maps which serve as an important tool for land managers, conservation agencies and municipalities.

With iMap, local groups and citizen scientists can plot, inventory and track the spread of a particular species, like Eurasian watermilfoil or the Asian clam. This data can be used to build maps, and analyze the spread of a species. iMap can also be applied in schools; teachers utilizing GIS in senior projects and high school science clubs may be interested in combining this community service with math and geoscience classes.

However, training is required to enter data into the program.

The iMapInvasive Mapping Workshop will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Baldwinsville Public Library on 33 East Genesee Street, and is open to interested individuals of all ages. Registration is required and space is limited.

During this workshop, learn new identifying traits and desired habitat of common invasive plants and animals, like the Asian clam, hydrilla, feral swine, giant hogweed and emerald ash borer.

Participants will become registered users of the iMap database, with the skills necessary to collect information and pictures of invasive pests and enter data, displayed as interactive maps to the public. Alerts can be created and e-mail lists inform users of species’ spreading patterns and new locations.

For more information and to register, call 424-9485 ext. 232, or visit the website watershed.extendonondaga.org.

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