How the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network can help you
When you see a new plant and possible invasive species on your property it can seem like a difficult task to report and it may seem like nobody would care even if you did. However, it is incredibly important to report any invasive species you may see, whether on your private property or on public lands when you’re out recreating. Reporting invasive species is easier than you may think. Following just a few quick steps can alert our Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) to the presence of invasive species in your area and is often the first step to treating any infestations.
The first thing to do when you spot an invasive species is to take pictures and note the location of the plant. These are the most important parts of an invasive species report and are vital for us at KISMA being able to find whatever you are reporting.
Step one is to take some clear pictures (blurry photos make important characteristics hard to see):
1. the whole plant,
2. close-up of the front and back of a leaf,
3. close-up of flower or seed head, if present, and
4. close-up of the stem.
Step two is noting the coordinates or location. You can easily get your coordinates from your smartphone in your ‘go-to’ maps app (e.g., Google Maps or Apple Maps) by simply long-pressing on the plant location on the map of your app. You can also just look on the map for the street name with approximate place along street (address or landmark) of the plant.
Step three is reporting. The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN)* provides a wealth of invasive species identification information and two important reporting tools.
Through MISIN you can report a possible invasive species two ways:
1. The MISIN smartphone app provides a mobile solution for the capture of invasive species field observation data. You can play an important role in the early detection and rapid response to new invasive threats in your area by contributing invasive species observations to the MISIN database. Using the MISIN app you can:
• Identify and report 500+ invasive plant and animal species
• Capture and submit species observations from the field
• Include images taken in the field with your observation
• Browse images and species information on the top Midwest invaders
2. Report online to MISIN by going to MISIN’s website: https://www.misin.msu.edu/ and follow these steps:
• Click the “My MISIN” heading in the blue toolbar at the top of the website and make your own FREE account.
• Once logged in, click the “Report” heading in the blue toolbar at the top.
• Select a species and then fill out the reporting form with the coordinates and pictures from the site as well as any additional sections. For detailed online reporting instructions visit: https://www.misin.msu.edu/help/
And that’s it! Reporting to MISIN is super easy and only takes a few minutes of your time, but those few minutes make a huge difference in the detection and management of invasive species. Without the help of the public, our work to find, manage, and prevent the spread of invasive species would not be possible. KISMA receives an alert to all new invasive species reports in Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties.
If you’re interested in finding out what invasive species have already been reported around you, you can check out the MISIN app or website for maps and additional information on a wide variety of invasive plants, animals, and more! MISIN keeps a database tracking all the reports of invasive species throughout our area.
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You can always email KISMA for help: email@example.com
Dr. Sigrid Resh (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Coordinator of KISMA and Research Assistant Professor at Michigan Technological University. Emily Klawiter (email@example.com) is the Assistant Coordinator for KISMA.