NOAA Teams with Drone Services Company RYKA UAS for Wetland Restoration Work

Ryka UAS, a drone services provider based out of Seattle, is working on a wetland restoration project in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In response to the 28 populations of salmon and steelhead listed as threatened or endangered due to habitat loss, Ryka UAS says it has been brought on to help evaluate the wetland restoration process through the use of drones and remote sensing.

Other collaborators include the National Park Service (NPS) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Ryka UAS says each group will play an important role in developing an effective restoration plan and executing it; for example, the NPS has given approval to fly drones within the Lewis and Clark National Park.

By equipping drones with hyperspectral sensors, NOAA will be able to create catalogs of Pacific Northwest vegetation and invasive species that become harmful to wetland environments. This data will enable NOAA to analyze the status of the wetlands in an extremely detailed and comprehensive manner, as opposed to satellite and manned aircraft methods, says Ryka UAS.

The team will create a spectral library, a template that aids in the identification of peptides and proteins, which, in this case, are the various types of vegetation in the wetlands, explains Ryka UAS. NOAA plans to publish the results so other researches can apply similar methods to restoration efforts; this includes easily identifying undesired invasive species in wetland habitats.

Overall, Ryka UAS and NOAA hope to establish an updatable, open-source spectral library for wetland environments; codify protocols for flight operations; and codify protocols for image processing, analytics and applications to wetland environments.

Photo courtesy of Ryka UAS: Orthophoto of Lewis and Clark restoration site

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