01 Nov Nathaniel Parker
Nat’s a river restoration specialist, working on in in-stream stabilisation and riparian restoration projects in SEQ. He also is the director of a drone company AirBorn Insight and has been using drones for enhancing river restoration projects for the last 3 years.
Management of stream bank erosion is a top priority activity to protect and improve South East Queensland’s waterways, retain valuable soil resources and build landscape resilience to flooding. Key to improving the resilience of our waterways is improving the riparian vegetation along stream banks (planting and weed control) and protecting the riparian zone through Engineered Log Jams and Pile Fields which deflect and slow water velocities against weakened stream banks. Both fixed wing and multirotor drones with a range of specialised imaging sensors can be used to improve project design, monitoring and reporting for stream restoration projects. With the right tools and understanding drones can effectively capture survey grade, ultra-high resolution images for DTM generation, volumetric measurements, weed classification and monitoring and provide stream managers with better data so they can make better decisions.
Drones are now important tools in stream restoration projects facilitating:
- Project design through survey grade elevation models and ultra-high resolution orthomosics
- Monitoring for revegetation, measuring planting success and weed recruitment
- Monitoring of instream works post flood to assess the adequateness of design and maintenance requirements
- Weed control programs, identifying current weed extent for project planning and also subsequent monitoring for project effectiveness
Four real life project examples will show that drones are indeed starting to play an important role is stream restoration. Learnings from each project will be presented and future uses of drones for stream management discussed.