New app helps weed out invasive species

Want to fight against the spread of Scotch broom or the invasion of giant hogweed?

There's an app for that. A new Report-A-Weed B.C. app - developed by the Invasive Species Council of B.C., the Forests Ministry and Hipwood Digital - allows users to upload photos of strange, spreading plants, browse a list of invasive plants and view an interactive weed map.

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Most importantly, it will allow users to submit reports on invasive plant sightings, said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council.

"If it was not there before and it's spreading, send it in and let the professionals look at it," Wallin said. "The goal is to have more eyes across B.C." to provide reports.

Even reports of common Scotch broom are useful, Wallin said, to help stop it from moving into areas that are now broom-free.

"And plants like knotweed and even English ivy are causing major problems on Vancouver Island," she said.

The new app will also act as a public education tool as many invasive species are deliberately planted by gardners, Wallin said.

Provincial plant specialists will review reports submitted through the app and co-ordinate followups with local governments or landowners.

The free app is available for iPhones and Android phones. It can be downloaded through the Apple iTunes store and Google Play.

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