Developing a Network for Invasive Species Outreach and Monitoring in Nebraska

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program (NISP) conducts outreach on invasive species to the public, natural resource agencies and organizations. The NISP coordinator attends and presents at local and regional conferences and meetings to work with resource agencies and entities to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in Nebraska. This project has developed teaching tools for K-12 grade and outdoor education instructors to teach students about invasive species identification and prevention.

Goals

• Decrease the risk of invasive species introduction and spread through volunteer training workshops, and by targeted messaging across multiple user groups;
• Develop and implement a “next generation” invasive species education strategy;
• Evaluate the effectiveness of outreach in invasive species prevention through focused inventory and monitoring as well as through surveys designed to assess awareness;
• Increase local and regional collaboration in the prevention and control of invasive species.

Current Status

NISP staff presented at numerous conferences and meetings throughout the state to the public and resource agency audiences on prevention and identification of invasive species. Invasive species identification guides were updated and disseminated to resource agency staff, Master Naturalists and the public to increase invasive species monitoring efforts. The NISP website received several reports of invasive species via its reporting page and that information was used to identify new invasive species infestations. Advertisements for Clean, Drain and Dry and don’t move firewood were included in Nebraska Game and Parks (NGPC) fishing, boating and hunting guides and in community news journals and other NGPC publications in 2017. Curriculum and lesson plans on invasive species were developed and placed on the program’s website as a free download. A set of invasive species education cards was developed and will be disseminated to teachers statewide in 2017. Ten traveling teaching trunks were developed and made available for educators to check out. Technicians conducted boater surveys and participated in outreach events during the summer of 2017. The NISP coordinator organized monthly meetings of the Nebraska Invasive Species Advisory Council. As well as, the NISP coordinator served on local and regional panels to coordinate outreach, monitoring and prevention efforts. The NISP attended many workshops and conferences and had outreach booths at them to provide attendees with technical guidance.

Project Website
Invasive Species
Traveling education trunk contents. Photo: Allison Zach
Traveling education trunk contents. Photo: Allison Zach
Principal Investigator(s)
-Craig R. Allen, NE CFWRU
Project Coordinator(s)
Rodney Verhoeff (4/2013 - 7/2013), Allison Zach (9/2013 - present)
Project Duration
April 2013- June 2017
Funding
-Nebraska Environmental Trust
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Project Location
Statewide Nebraska