Participate in the 'HalloWeed' invasive plant count
Celebrate autumn by helping St. Johns River Water Management District staff identify and map invasive plants at one of two scenic public properties.
The District is participating in the annual "HalloWeed" count, a statewide data collection event to enter invasive plant data on the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System with the help of Florida's Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA). There are 17 CISMAs in Florida, each an alliance of stakeholders addressing invasive species management in geographic regions within Florida.
District staff will lead a guided hike at the Lake Apopka North Shore on Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to noon and a guided paddle tour on Pellicer Creek at Princess Place Preserve on Oct. 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Two of the most prevalent invasive species in Florida are Brazilian pepper and Old World climbing fern. Both plants alter native plant communities by displacing native species, but are just starting to reach central and north Florida.
"Early detection helps find new invasive species populations before they get established, allowing us to remove them before they cover large areas and disrupt native habitats," said Deborah Stone, District Invasive Plant Program supervisor. "By spending a little bit of time searching now, we save a lot of time and money in the long run. The citizen scientists assisting us will be our eyes and ears for these advancing invaders -- an integral component of the 'search' part of our search-and-destroy mission. Staff will follow-up shortly after the event and remove these unwanted pests."
All data collected during HalloWeed plant counts is reviewed by state verifiers to ensure accuracy. The data is made freely available to scientists, researchers, land managers, landowners, educators, conservationists, ecologists, farmers, foresters, and to state and national parks.
To register, contact Deborah Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (386) 643-1921.
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