The Garlic Mustard Story
On a bird watching trip at Kennesaw Mountain, Chris Evans, a biologist, recognized garlic mustard growing along the trail as he hiked up the mountain. From his Master's work at Iowa State University, he knew this plant shouldn't be in Georgia.
Chris followed up and found out there was no official record of garlic mustard being indentified in Georgia. He contacted park management and let them know they had a problem on their hands. Garlic mustard is a plant which can invade forest understories, altering the native plant communities and Chris hoped the problem had been identified in time to make eradication possible.
Chris, the park management and the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council coordinated efforts and planned a volunteer work day. The garlic mustard work day was highly advertised and over 40 people showed up to help with the eradication efforts. The volunteers worked steadily and filled one hundred large trash bags with garlic mustard by the end of the day.
Unfortunately, they discovered the problem was larger than they originally thought, 17 acres of woodlands at Kennesaw Mountain were infested with garlic mustard. The park management put together an ongoing plan to manage the garlic mustard infestation, with a goal to prevent it from spreading any further.
Follow-up control plans include:
- Yearly Volunteer Pull Days
- Southeast Exotic Pest Management Team conducts regular mapping and spraying of the infestation.
This was a great example of EDRR...Or was it?:
It was later discovered that Scott Ranger found garlic mustard here on May 10, 1989 and after that Chris Hughes did his Master's Work on this same population of Garlic Mustard. If EDDMapS had existed then, garlic mustard might now be only history in the forests of Kennesaw Mountain.
Chris Evans and Chuck Bargeron, of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, thought about this problem and wanted to come up with an effective way for people to report invasive plants so that eradication efforts could be put into action earlier. Working together, Chris, a biologist and Chuck, an IT specialist, created EDDMapS.
EDDMapS in the Southeast U.S. and Beyond
EDDMapS was started by a group at the Bugwood Network. In February 2008 Bugwood officially became the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
The group at Bugwood wanted a way to map and track infestations of invasive species. They thought, "What if we do an invasive plant survey of the four major roads in Tift county, take the GPS coordinates of the plants, take photos of each location and make the information available through a Web application?"
Things started happening that would set the foundation for this project. Bugwood hired Chris Evans, whose master's work was on volunteer surveys in Iowa. The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England started in 2001 and Google and Yahoo released API to allow user developed maps in 2004. In 2005 the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council needed a purpose and wanted to help with this project.
It took time to work out all the details on this project and figure out a way to find and access all the maps available, but in 2005 EDDMapS was started with a Southeastern U.S. focus.
EDDMapS combines science with technology, works across agency, organization and discipline boundaries and is now providing a picture of the distribution of invasive species across the United States.