by Paul J. Sniadecki, ML&SA Board Director
The annual spring lake overturns have occurred, the water is clear, boats are on the water, and so… It’s MISIN Time! The next few weeks provide the best and easiest opportunity to check your lake for new infestations of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). If you have your smartphone loaded with the MISIN mobile app, you can report any new AIS infestations directly from the AIS location on the water.
The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) is a regional data aggregation effort to develop and provide an early detection and rapid response (EDRR) resource for invasive species in the Midwest region of the United States. Currently, thirteen states are active participants, and there is some data available from other parts of the country as well.
MISIN is led by researchers with the Michigan State University Department of Entomology Laboratory for Applied Spatial Ecology and Technical Services in conjunction with a growing consortium of supporting partners. The goal of this regional resource is to assist both experts and citizen scientists (essentially anyone reading this article) in the detection and identification of invasive species. Data collected allows for the development and implementation of effective control strategies in the region. User selected maps can also be generated to display locations of AIS infestations.
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. All you have to do is register as a user in the MISIN system, download the appropriate smartphone app, and then login. It only takes about 5 minutes, and full participation is free. If you don’t have a smartphone (or have fears about dropping your device into the lake), you can login with your home computer and enter your data that way. An amazing feature of MISIN is the system also collects information about discoveries of terrestrial (land based) invasive species. MISIN also contains tutorials about AIS plants, and full color pictures of each species.
When you first become a MISIN participant, please check your lake/stream to determine if there are any previous reported entries in the database. Duplicate entries for the same AIS plants, in the same location, should be avoided. However, newly discovered locations of AIS in different parts of lakes/streams should be entered and reported. The easiest way to do that is by first selecting the EXPLORE tab on the home page, and then select the BROWSE DATA tab. Another feature to try (and there are numerous features)
is the “Maps On Demand” found by using the TOOLS tab. You select the data you want displayed on a map, and MISIN generates a high quality map that is sent to your email address in less than 2 minutes. My map requests for AIS Hydrilla and Starry stonewort, and the terrestrial Japanese knotweed, produced some interesting results.
Riparians are encouraged to ensure any AIS infestations in their lake/streams are properly recorded in the MISIN database. That will help ensure the full magnitude of Invasive Species problems are documented. After about 10 minutes of using the system, it will be easy for you to say, Anytime is MISIN Time! To Access MISIN: https://www.misin.msu.edu/