Volunteer Opportunities and New Citizen Science Project Kick Off California Invasive Species Action Week

Media Contacts:
Valerie Cook Fletcher, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 654-4267
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

California’s second annual Invasive Species Action Week will run from Saturday, June 6 through Sunday, June 14. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Invasive Species Action Week is a statewide event that provides the public with opportunities to learn about non-native plants and animals that wreak havoc on our environment and the beneficial native species that live here.

Bolsa Chica Land Trust CISAW2014
Volunteers display the results of their hard work during Invasive Species Action Week last year.

Federal and state agencies and numerous organizations across the state have teamed up to host more than 30 Action Week events this year. Upcoming public volunteer opportunities range from ragwort removal at Prosper Ridge in Humboldt County, to surveying for aquatic invasives in the Lake Tahoe Basin, to trapping crayfish in Los Angeles’ Medea Creek. A complete county-by-county schedule of events can be downloaded at www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

Citizens help improve the environment during last year’s inaugural Invasive Species Action Week

Citizens can also contribute to a healthy environment by taking small, everyday actions – like selecting native plants for landscaping, being responsible pet (aquaria) owners and reporting invasive species they encounter.

One of the newest opportunities to monitor for invasive species during and beyond the Action Week is through California Nerodia Watch, the CDFW’s burgeoning citizen-science monitoring project for invasive (and restricted) Nerodia watersnakes. Currently, Nerodia watersnake populations are established in Roseville, Folsom and Harbor City, with several sightings reported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Nerodia are notorious predators of fish and amphibians, and if their range expands, they will pose a serious threat to nearby endangered giant garter snakes and threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon. With the public’s help, CDFW biologists hope to monitor and prevent the spread of existing populations. The public is encouraged to learn more about  Nerodia watersnakes (see the CDFW invasive species profiles at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/species) and report observations through the iNaturalist project webpage (www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-nerodia-watch) or by downloading the iNaturalist smartphone app.

For questions or more information about the Action Week or California Nerodia Watch, please contact invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.