December 6th, 2017
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are being used to collect high resolution imagery for three NERRS sites: Jacques Cousteau, NJ; Grand Bay, MS; and San Francisco Bay, CA. The project is looking at the accuracy of the data attained by UAS in different ecosystems, from the relatively simple dunes of New Jersey to the Gulf of Mexico salt marsh in Mississippi to the estuarine salt marsh in Rush Ranch, California. Our site has the most complex vegetation and will be overflown in two different seasons to compare in our habitat mapping. Habitat maps are used in a lot of different ways: evaluating the impact of specific vegetation management practices; assessing beaches after storms for damage assessment and restoration purposes; and identifying high priority invasive and sensitive vegetation. There is a near universal need within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and by other natural resource stakeholders for accurate habitat maps and this project is leading the charge in using new technology to enhance our ability to capture the data.