Report Invasive Species
By: Kyle Grammatica
Florida is accustomed to tourists, but some plant and animal visitors outstay their welcome. These nonnative species create big problems for the people and animals that call the Sunshine State home.
Invasive Species in Florida
Over 500 nonnative species have been introduced to Florida. While not all of these nonnative species cause harm, many pose serious threats to the environment, economy, and our health. Many nonnative species were introduced to Florida as exotic pets and were later released into the wild. Others have been brought through international trade or have come from natural disasters like hurricanes. The climate of Florida makes it easy for nonnative plants and animals to establish themselves.
Invasive species cost Floridians over $500 million a year and have spread into 1.7 million acres. Species like the Burmese python and lionfish prey on native species, including endangered animals. They also compete with native species for resources. Others like the vervet monkey and cane toad can be potentially deadly to humans and pets.
Ivegot1 is an app that makes it easy to report any invasive species you encounter. It was developed by the University of Georgia Center for Invasive and Ecosystem Health in a partnership with the National Park Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. The app allows people to report sightings of invasive species in real time using your smart phone’s camera and location settings. Sightings can also be reported through the website IveGot1.org or the phone hotline 888-I’ve-Got1 (888-483-4681).
When reporting an invasive species through the Ivegot1 app or website, use a clear, high resolution photograph so that the species can be easily identified. The location and date the invasive species must be included as well. GPS coordinates are the best way to report location, but street addresses or detailed descriptions of the area can be used as well. Any other important information about the sighting should be submitted as well. The app and website are preferred for reporting lower priority invasive species, like plants and small lizards. For high priority species, such as Burmese pythons and tegus, please use the hotline.
Reports are sent to experts for verification. The information is then used to track and analyze the spread of invasive species and plan removal actions. By getting involved, you can help prevent further invasion and reduce the problems caused by those already in the state. To help our fight against invasive species, please donate here.