This summer, we’ve been gathering imagery of the Saw Kill by using a drone with a high-definition camera attached to the bottom. Our friend John Maddox from Vertical Lift Visuals took many flights and eventually captured the entire river from multiple heights and angles in photos and videos. John has also been working on creating complicated three dimensional models of the river.
This is an exciting development for the SKWC because it opens up a new way to monitor the water. An overhead visual survey allows community members and researchers to make more thorough observations than what would be possible on foot.
We can use this information to monitor the surrounding environment over time by recording drone footage at the same places along the river at different times of the year.
The buffer zone is the area around the river banks that absorbs runoff and protects the water. Trees play an important ecological role in this zone, and organizations like Trees for Tribs plant trees and make sure that buffer zones remains healthy. Trees for Tribs and other environmental organizations could use the drone footage to monitor and maintain buffer zones. In addition, the footage can help us understand erosion patterns, water levels, plant life, and other nutrient indicators. In the future we may even get a thermal camera to monitor temperature in the water.
Linking the health of the water itself to the physical conditions of the surrounding area by utilizing the drone imagery will greatly boost our ability to conserve the Saw Kill!
See some of the drone footage below.