Gathering information in the Field
When you've spotted a potential invasive species in the field, document your find as accurately as possible so that the species can be positively identified and the location can be found again.
- Try to identify the species. If you have a guide or watch list reference with you, review the species identification information. It is helpful if you are fairly confident you have found the correct species before you report it. If you are unsure of the identification, document as much information as you can. You can get identification assistance from an expert through the Online Hotline.
- Take a digital photo. Photos are the most reliable method for experts to positively identify a species. Use the three shot method: a wide shot of species and surrounding habitat; a closeup of the species; a detail shot such as leaves or flowers. In the case of insects or animals, if you can't find a specimen to photograph, you many need to take photos of the habitat damage you've found.
- Take notes. Write down a description of the specimen and the area and habitat where you found it. Estimate the number of individuals in the area and how widespread the infestation.
- Note the location. If you have a gps or map, record the location of the site. The more accurate you can be, the easier it will be others to locate you find. *IMPORTANT - If the species you encountered is clearly on private property, be sure to get permission from the land owner before reporting.
Try to bring along the following tools whenever you plan to be out in natural areas. They are helpful for accurately documenting your finds.
- Digital camera
- A map of the area (USGS Quad maps are ideal) or GPS unit (if possible)
- A notebook and pen for taking notes
- An invasive species guide or watch list for the area (something with photos and descriptions is ideal)
Report your find to the Online Hotline
When you return from the field, use the Online Hotline's reporting form to submit your find. You can use the Online Hotline to report a known invader or ask for identification help if you are unsure. Each submission will be reviewed by an expert from the Oregon Invasive Species Council who will review your submission and confirm the identification. You'll receive an email response from the expert with a confirmation and suggestions for what to do next.
Once confirmed, your submission will go into the public database of submissions to help experts and the public with early detection and tracking of invasive outbreaks in Oregon.