Drones Pilot Vegetation Mapping

By Michael Hunter Adamson

In the world of conservation, as attested to by multiple speakers at a late summer UC Davis event, drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) may be the vehicle of choice for mapping the future of invasive plant management in the Delta. The California Department of Water Resources began using UAVs in earnest after the Oroville dam failure in the winter of 2017, when drones offered visuals no one could get near on the ground. The Blacklock Ranch, a leveed island in Suisun Marsh, offers a more current example of how drones are now being employed at restoration sites. “We are using our UAVs and multispectral [red, blue, green, and infrared spectrums, for example] capabilities to map and monitor the spread of an invasive weed,” says Harry Spanglet of the Department. They “are the wave of the future.”

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About the author

Michael Hunter Adamson was born and partly raised in the Bay Area and spent his childhood balancing adventure with mischief. As an equally irresponsible adult he has worked for The Nature Conservancy, the arts and education nonprofit NaNoWriMo, taught English in Madrid-based High School equivalent, and volunteers with The Marine Mammal Center. As a writer for Estuary and AcclimateWest, Michael employs his love for nature and his interest in people to help tell the unfolding story of the living Earth.