Deb Stone graduated from USF with a B.S. in Biology in 2004, then began working as the Rare Plant Intern at Bok Tower Gardens, where her passion for all things botanical began to blossom. She then moved to Hillsborough County’s Environmental Lands program in 2006, working on invasive plant control, monitoring and prescribed fire. Deb started as the Restoration Steward for The Nature Conservancy at The Disney Wilderness Preserve in 2008, where she focused on invasive species prioritization, GIS technologies, working with local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, groundcover restoration and vegetation monitoring. In 2014, Deb moved to St. John’s River Water Management District as the Invasive Plant Program Supervisor, where she continues her focus on invasive species prioritization, restoration and GIS technologies. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. Go Gators!
Becca VanKampen and her business partner Rachel Winston, formed the company MIA Consulting out of a growing need for comprehensive solutions to environmental data collection, management, and education. Together they have developed GIS solutions and educational resources for many different entities across the United States. Becca’s primary focus is developing web-based solutions that bridge the gap between end users and complicated software. She has successfully created many GIS solutions for land managers that enable them to take advantage of easy-to-use tools. She works closely with EDDMapS and is constantly looking for ways to better utilize their GIS data.
Effective and efficient prioritization of invasive species treatments is an important aspect of land management and ecological restoration, as the number and distribution of invasive species increase and budgets decrease. Land managers have a multitude of prioritization frameworks from which to choose, but the vast majority only consider entire species across a landscape rather than individual populations. The Spatial Invasive Infestation and Priority Analysis (SIIPA) model (built in ESRI ArcGIS software) was built to be a customizable tool for rapid application of a prioritization framework to known invasive populations within a preserve, management area, or region. The SIIPA model is based on the framework provided in The Nature Conservancy’s Draft Weed Management Plan and prioritizes invasive species based on four characteristics common to many other schema: 1) current extent of the species; 2) current and potential impacts of the species; 3) value of habitats the species infests; and 4) difficulty of control and establishing replacement species. However, the model can be customized to have different classes for each characteristic, different weights for each class, and include other characteristics. To demonstrate how the model performs at different scales and for different land management objectives, we tested this model in three different case studies: the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve in Kissimmee, Florida; the U.S. Forest Service’s Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee, Florida; and the Heartland Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area in central Florida.
The SIPPA model has also been adapted as a webmap on the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) website to increase access to private landowners and agencies that do not have access to ESRI software. The webmap version uses the main four characteristics but still allows for customization in how those characteristics are prioritized. The SIIPA model provides land managers with an adaptable, easy-to-utilize decision support tool for making critical prioritization choices.