It’s an app that’s been around since late 2014, but few people outside of the Edmonton area have likely heard of it. Called the Alberta Weed Spotter, the app gives the public help in identifying and reporting invasive and noxious weed species regulated under the province’s Weed Control Act.
“Catching invasive species early on in their colonization — that’s really crucial for successful weed management,” said Daniel Laubhann, “and the app just helps in that area.”
Laubhann is an environmental technician with the City of Edmonton, and the project lead behind the Alberta Weed Spotter app’s development. His team is planning to create a network of weed managers, to help streamline the process. Right now, when a report comes in, Laubhann forwards the information to the appropriate weed manager.
Thus far, 9000 people have downloaded the app, submitting 700 reports of weed species. In one case, a report through the app gave the City of Edmonton a heads-up on a common barberry plant found in the river valley. Little time was wasted in removing the weed, which is classified as ‘prohibited noxious’ in the province.
“It was a very good example of people sending in information, and we can then launch a rapid response and stop it from further spreading,” Laubhann explained.
Laubhann believes most of the app’s current users are from the Edmonton area, but it can be a resource for anyone in the province.
“The more people look for weeds, the more ground we can cover and the more species or locations we’ll find.”
Laubhann hopes to collaborate with the Alberta Invasive Species Council’s new mapping system so that all reports through the app will be visible across the province.
Alberta Weed Spotter is available on iTunes.