The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) staff from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center have received a permit to fly an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) over the Nauset Marsh/Coast Guard Beach area of Cape Cod, Mass.
According to the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) of the National Park Service (NPS), USGS will evaluate the feasibility, cost and data quality for high-resolution mapping of a variety of coastal landscapes (beaches, dunes, bluffs, overwash channels and back-barrier marshes).
Since June 2014, the NPS has strictly controlled the use of drones in national parks. The CCNS says national park units have experienced a number of examples where people have used UAS to harass wildlife, interfere with visitor experiences in parks and interfere with aircraft fighting wildfires. CCNS says it has even witnessed the use of drones to harass grey seals off Coast Guard Beach.
However, this drone use supports the mission of the NPS and CCNS, which says the project is scheduled to avoid sensitive endangered or listed species, provides for safeguards, and uses equipment that has reduced noise technology to limit impacts to humans and wildlife. The permit was approved by CCSN/NPS authorities.
CCSN says its staff have been working closely with the USGS and are looking forward to learning about how drone technology can add to its knowledge and help inform management decisions related to the dynamic changes of barrier beach and salt marsh ecosystems.