Bird Vetch

5 – Reporting invasive plants and identification help

Currently there are three ways to easily report invasive plant occurrences and/or request assistance with identification. We will discuss each of these reporting methods so that you can choose which is most appropriate for your purposes. In all cases the same basic information is needed: Detailed location description that includes items such as the mile post, and significant landmarks such as road signs, utility poles etc., latitude and longitude also help but aren’t necessary in all situations; Digital photos of the plant that include flower or fruit, stem, and leaves; What species you think it might be.

Reporting the location of suspected invasive plant species, and other suspected invasive species is of utmost importance. If a priority species is new to an area, and is managed early it is more likely to be eradicated from the area than if it is well established. Invasive species managers call this Early Detection and Rapid Response.

1-877-invasiv (468-2748)
You can call this number to report any type of invasive species. Calling this number may beis best used when you don’t have access to the internet, The phone number directly calls the statewide invasive species program coordinator with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). The ADF&G coordinator will pass the information along to an appropriate invasive plant manager. or the mobile application
The UAF CES hosts a web form to report and ask questions about invasive plants, insects, and plant diseases. This web form is encouraged to be used for general inquiries of identification, to query CES faculty and staff about control, and to report the location of priority species. Messages sent through this web portal are routed to CES personnel who forward the information along to local offices so they can contact you to provide assistance as needed. When a priority species is reported CES contacts the appropriate land manager to initiate control work.

CES has a mobile application, Alaska Weeds ID, that works offline and serves two purposes. First, it has an invasive plant identification guide. Second, it has a geo referenced reporting function that can be used in place of the web form.

Submission through the web or app benefit from providing good location descriptions, and good pictures. Location descriptions should include items such as the nearest community, road name and milepost, and nearby landmarks such as light posts, parking lots etc.. Take pictures of plant parts such as leaves, flowers, and fruits. Please provide your contact information and any other pertinent information you have about the site and infestation.

The Alaska Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse has a system set up for land managers to contribute location information to their database of non-native plant occurrences in Alaska. The data is updated once annually which makes it not the best way to alert land managers of new priority species, or to get general questions regarding identification or control answered. However, AKEPIC is an excellent archive of species locations for use in planning and research.

Location data contributed to AKEPIC is assumed to be identified correctly when submitted, and the submitted data must follow strict guidelines for inclusion in the database. Required information for non-native plants included in the AKEPIC database include:
Observers Names
Site information
Site code (alpha numeric code unique to the site e.g. CES2015-1)
Study type (exhaustive, highest priority, or single species study)
Area surveyed in acres
Location information
Latitude and Longitude (decimal degrees, NAD83)
Collection method (GPS, Topographic Map, Aerial photo)
GPS Precision
Survey information
Plant species code
Infested area
Canopy cover %
Herbarium collection information

There are other fields to fill out that are optional.  Links to more information on submitting data to AKEPIC including detailed instructions, field datasheets, and a batch data upload form can be found at the main website (

Works cited

Klebesadel, L. J. 1980. “Birdvetch: Forage Crop, Ground Cover, Ornamental or Weed?” Agroborealis 12(1):46-49.

Nolen, Andrew. 2002. Vetch infestations in Alaska, State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, Plant Materials Center, and Department of Transportation. Available from

Seefeldt, S. S., J. S. Conn, B. E. Jackson and S. D. Sparrow. 2007. “Response of Seedling Bird Vetch (Vicia cracca) to Six Herbicides.” Weed Technology 21: 692-694.

Wagner, Diane. 2017. The role of nitrogen fixation and climbing in competitive interactions between bird vetch and native plants. Alaska Invasive Species Workshop, October 24, 2017. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Biology and Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology.