Photo-monitoring is another way to monitor NIS abundance. While this method does not typically produce data that can be analyzed statistically, it does give a good visual documentation of NIS abundance over time if done properly. The methodology outlined below will help you get consistent photos of your area of interest over repeated visits.

Required Materials and tools

  1. Two durable stakes, at least 6 ft. tall
  2. Camera
  3. One small (8 ½ x 11” or similar) white dry erase
  4. board and black marker
  5. 3 or more stake whiskers
  6. Aluminum or plastic labels and thin wire
  7. Map of the area and/or GPS
  8. Compass
  9. Data sheet
  10. Meter stick or tape

Sampling NIS populations using photo-monitoring:
Initial Set up

  1. Observe your NIS population and determine the best position from which to take a photo without zooming in with the camera (roughly 8-10 m away).
  2. Once a location has been chosen, pound one of the 6’ stakes (your camera post) into the ground until it protrudes to eye level (~ 5ft).
  3. Fasten a label to the post showing a unique population/location ID so that when you or someone else comes back to monitor, you can readily identify which population you are photographing. Write this ID on your data sheet, and either mark the post using your GPS or mark its approximate location on a map – in case your stake is misplaced when you return.
  4. Measure 8-10 m away from the camera post in the direction in which you will be taking your photos and pound the second stake (your reference post) into the ground until it protrudes roughly 5 ft. Write the precise distance between posts on your data sheet.
  5. Take a compass bearing from the camera post to the reference post and record it on your data sheet next to the site ID.            
  6. Write the Site ID and the date on your dry erase board and affix it to the reference post. Make sure it is readable from the camera post!
  7. Rest your camera on the camera post and take your photo of the area, aiming directly at the white board on the reference post, and without using the zoom on the camera at all.
  8. If using a digital camera, double check to make sure that the site ID board is readable in the photo.

Diagram of step 1 showing observer's position in relation to NIS populationDiagram of step 2 showing camera post in relation to observerDiagram of step 3 showing ID tag on camera postDiagram of step 4 showing reference postDiagram of step 5 showing compass measurementDiagram of step 6 showing whiteboard affixed to reference postDiagram of step 7 showing camera placement on camera post

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