Everglades has introduced a much expanded mobile app for tracking invasive exotics in Florida. The park partnered with University of Georgia in the development of the "IveGot1" app for the popular iPhone to identify and report invasive plants and animals spotted in Florida.
"IveGot1" is a real time integrated invasive species reporting tool and part of a comprehensive outreach campaign on invasive exotic plants and animals in Florida. The project includes the app, a website with direct access to invasive species reporting, and a hotline 1-888-IVEGOT1 for instant reporting of live animals. This app allows observations of invasive species to be reported directly with an iPhone that uploads to a designated location and is e-mailed directly to local and state verifiers for review.
The goal of the "IveGot1" app is to make identification and reporting of these problematic species easy and efficient as possible.
Florida is an inviting destination for invasive species that threaten to undermine the health of the state's fragile environment. Non-native plants and animals can greatly alter the native landscape, adversely impact native wildlife, destroy agricultural crops and threaten public health.
Invasions of exotic species cost Floridians over $500 million each year. Though significant, the economic costs are small compared to the ecological ones. Florida's public lands are highly vulnerable to invasion by exotic plant and animal species. As of today, more than 1.7 million acres of Florida's natural areas have been infested by invasive species.
This real time data collected through reported sightings of invasive animals and plants will allow scientists to better assess the extent of infestations and hopefully eradicate new infestations before they become problems such as melaleuca or Burmese pythons have become.
"IveGot1" was developed by the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants were also part of this project.
The project was funded through the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), which is a formal partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, tribes, individuals, and various interested groups that manage invasive species in the greater Everglades area. With this partnership and cooperation, has come the need to create a central location to report, share and store species sightings and distribution information. The University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health supported this need through development of the web site for the Everglades CISMA that allows reporting of and information about invasive species (all taxa) in the CISMA.
The initial project, funded by the National Park Service Florida/Caribbean Exotic Pest Management Team, ended in September of 2008 and was extended with funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through September of 2012.The results of this project are available at www.evergladescisma.org.
The cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to develop the iPhone app and to continue hosting and developing of the Everglades CISMA website and EDDMapS for Florida is a five year agreement that began in October of 2010.