USDA Funds UAV Projects for Natural Resource Conservation


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced funding for projects using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss., received an NRSC grant to prepare students to become Federal Aviation Administration-certified remote pilots with training in soil conservation applications.

Alcorn’s initiative is designed to help improve soil conservation practices, especially those resulting from natural disasters. Real-time, UAV-based data is crucial in developing aftermath soil conservation planning, the university explains. This project will help address the increasing use of UAV analysis and improve the procedures for solving soil conservation problems with greater efficiency.

Alcorn’s award was selected as part of NRCS’ Soil Science Collaborative Research initiative, designed to help NRCS provide scientifically based soil and ecosystem information to help address important natural resources issues facing the nation.

In addition, as part of NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grant project, the California Deer Association has received funding to study the feasibility of using thermal imaging drone technology to rescue and relocate deer/pronghorn fawns and elk calves. The goal is to reduce wildlife mortality.

NRCS administers CIG as part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS uses CIG to invest in innovative conservation technologies and approaches, with a goal of wide-scale adoption, to address natural resource issues.

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