Wednesday, September 14, 2011

GLRI-WHER open for data entry!

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiaitive Wildlife Health Event Reporter (GLRI-WHER) application is now available for public use at!

With support from a grant from the GLRI at EPA, the Wildlife Data Integration Network (WDIN, formerly known as the Wildlife Disease Information Node), a partnership between the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the UW Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, has launched a system for reporting wildlife health and algal bloom events observed around the Great Lakes. This new citizen science application is available online at

Injured or dead wildlife, as well as evidence of algal blooms, can be an indication that an area is being
affected by a Botulism outbreak. Botulism Type C has been known to cause extensive waterfowl mortality in the western United States since the early 1900s. Botulism Type E’s appearance in the Great Lakes began in the early 1960s in Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Over the years, incidences of botulism in the Great Lakes has increased steadily, and in the 1998-2001 period was responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds in Lakes Huron and Erie. Scientists working in state, federal and non-profit agencies are looking for your help to identify events that could be important in research on Avian Botulism and protecting waterfowl from this disease.

For Great Lakes Enthusiastic Citizens
Provides a simple mechanism for noting events observed at a specific place, on a regularly walked route,
or a route you create. Users can sign up for an account and begin reporting any observations of sick, injured or dead birds, algal blooms, and other environmental observations noted around the Great Lakes.

Users can also attach digital photographs of their observations with their sightings.  Photographs of animals involved in the observed event or of the general area around the event are all welcome.

Volunteer Coordinators
In addition to offering a place for public individuals to enter animal and algal bloom observations, GLRI-WHER was also designed to be an online solution for data collection for volunteer groups doing periodic monitoring and surveillance on Great Lakes shorelines.

With the input of members from the Botulism Coordination Network organized by the EPA, GLRI-WHER’s online form was designed to specifically meet the data collection needs of any organized Great Lakes volunteer group. To begin using GLRI-WHER, volunteer coordinators need only request that their organization name be added to the established list within the application. 

Additional functions available to coordinators include a mechanism for approving membership requests, user management, adding pre-defined route details, and more.

Once data are entered, they are available for review in reports, maps and querying tools. Anyone can sign up to receive daily email alerts from the site or grab the URL for a GeoRSS feed to plug into their own feed readers to stay up to date as reports are made.

Coordinators: If your volunteer network would like to utilize the toolset for reporting, get in touch! Training assistance is available.

Citizen Enthusiast: If you want to start reporting as an individual, sign up at!

This application is a beta version, so if you encounter any problems let us know! You can also share your feedback with us at

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