The UCF portion of the project uses Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), i.e. drones, to measure eelgrass meadow extent, patchiness, and dynamics through time. Drone imagery will be collected at least annually in coordination with in situ sampling which will also be used to validate the imagery by ground-truthing across a range of points within each meadow. Because eelgrass extent in some regions is subtidal and challenging to visualize from the air, we will utilize both DJI Phantom 4 (RGB band) drones and Parrot Bluegrass multi-spectral drone mapping technology. We will ideally allocate 4-6 days at each site for each drone mission to maximize ideal conditions for collecting drone imagery, striving for lowest spring tides, and calm, bright conditions with roughly vertical sunlight. Multiple mapping strategies will be included in the project, including multi-spectral drone mapping, historical satellite imagery, in situ measurements with Ground Control Points (GCPs), atmosphere correction, and GIS analyses.

Sites for 2019

  • San Diego Bay (San Diego State)
  • Yaquina Bay and Coos Bay (Oregon State University)
  • False Bay, San Juan Island (Cornell U/UW FHL)
  • Bodega and Tomales Bays (University of California Davis / Bodega Marine Lab)
  • Prince of Wales Island (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • Hakai (sites will not be flown by UCF team)

Fieldwork plan

  • We will assign 4-6 days for each site
  • The detailed fieldwork plan can be flexible depending on the availability of the local team and weather conditions
  • We will use 2-3 days for collecting the drone data and help local teams collect the in situ measurements
  • We will use 1-2 days for holding the UAV training session (non-weekend), including:
    • Preflight Planning
    • Drone Flight training
    • Training for taking FAA Part 107 Examination
    • Drone2map software training
    • ArcGIS based image analysis
  • We will also consider the satellite overpass time, such as Landsat and Sentinel

Schedule (Preliminary)

Fieldwork 1:

Oregon: June 13-18

Washington: June 18-23

Fieldwork 2:

UC Davis: July 2-7

San Diego: July 7-12

Alaska: July 13-18