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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Watershed Counts: Invasive Species
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dgregg on 09 Jan 2012 02:53 pm

Watershed Counts: Invasive Species

The Rhode Island Invasive Species Council is developing measures that can be used to assess the impact of invasive species on natural habitats in the Narragansett Bay Region (which includes virtually all of Rhode Island) and our collective capacity (agencies, non-profits, local groups, and private citizens) to deal with the threats. In 2011, RIISC began assisting the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and URI’s coastal institute with a project called Watershed Counts. Watershed Counts is a collaborative effort by a large number of groups to quantify environmental condition and change through time in the Narragansett Bay Region in simple terms, digesting existing scientific knowledge and publicizing the results in ways that will inform and engage the general public. Watershed Counts is funded by grants from the Rhode Island Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Healthy Communities Grant Program.

RIISC’s role is to develop a metric for invasive species that incorporates both on-the ground measurements of invasives extent and impact and assessments of invasive survey and management efforts. The development process includes meetings, surveys, and other communications.

In April 2011, we reported on our first meetings and a preliminary assessment of the invasive species situation at a news conference at the Rhode Island State House. Download a summary of the Watershed Counts project, including the invasive metric, as of April 2011 HERE or visit the Watershed Counts website.

Here is a summary of the Invasives Metric progress as of November 2011. This document includes a list of the invasive species that the working group has “nominated” to be part of the basket of species that contribute to the metric.

As part of the RIISC/Watershed Counts effort, we’d like to know which of the “nominated” invasive species are most worrying to those who worry about such things and to that end we’re conducting a survey on invasive species, being managed by Pete August at URI (thanks, Pete).

Here’s the link to the Survey:
Invasive Species Survey

**Who should complete the survey? Anyone with an interest in invasive species–land trust members involved in stewardship, town engineers or parks officials, landscapers, environmental consultants, gardeners, amateur naturalists. We’re NOT looking just for scientists types but if you know nothing about invasives, you probably won’t get far in the survey.

**How long does the survey take? You could probably get through it in 10-15 minutes if you don’t stop and agonize over every species we ask about.

**When is the deadline? There’s no hard deadline, we’ll keep incorporating your input, but by the end of the day Friday, January 13, 2012, would be great.

**Do I have to give my name? No. Responses will be anonymous unless you choose to provide your name, affiliation, or contact information.

**Who or what is the Rhode Island Invasive Species Council? The RIISC was started over 10 years ago as a discussion forum that cross-cut research, outreach, and business interests in the invasive species area. Under the guidance of Lisa Gould it created invasive species criteria and our first list of invasive plants. The RIISC remains an unincorporated, non-official, non-regulatory, non-exclusive discussion forum based at RINHS. Anyone interested is welcome to participate.

**How can I get the survey results? The Invasive Species Council will post progress on the survey and the invasive indicator at rinhs.org throughout the spring. You can also watch for the Watershed Counts presentation to the General Assembly on Earth Day. Finally, you can follow the whole Watershed Counts project at the website.

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