The B.C. Wildlife Federation has launched an iPhone app and accompanying website that allows concerned citizens to report illegal trash dumping, hunting and other environmental violations by snapping a picture and uploading it with geotags to a crowdsourced map. As an added incentive, users with tips that result in a conviction could receive a $2,000 CAD reward.
“We are very pleased to support this initiative,” said Corinne Jackson, communications director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, which provided support for the project through the organization’s water conservation and quality improvement grant program.
“We have seen an increasing number of issues in our backcountry, but also in the valley bottom, from ATVs and dirt-bikes being driven on dams and through wetlands, to dumping of household garbage in and near creeks, damage to riparian and fish habitat, and more. These types of activities are hurting aquatic habitat and sensitive ecosystems. They are also happening in what are often sources of drinking water to local residents. We see this app and website as important tools in raising awareness and helping protect these areas.”
When a user sends a report, they can make it either public or confidential. If they make it public, the report then goes through a moderator approval process. There is a further two-day delay before the post becomes public so that enforcement agencies like the Conservation Officer Service or Department of Fisheries and Oceans have a chance to investigate before potentially tipping off criminals. No matter what, no personal information from the tipster will be made available on the iOS or web version of the map.