WDFW to Use Drone for Data Collection

Scientists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will fly a drone over a section of the Lower Columbia River and adjacent areas during the week of Oct. 30–Nov. 2 to collect information supporting river restoration work.

WDFW scientist Jane Atha said that a drone will collect imagery of a wetland project at South Bachelor Island, where the agency will be reconnecting off-channel wetland habitat starting later this year.

Atha also added that the drone will be flown between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for approximately 30 to 60 minute periods within a four day window over approximately 2,000 feet on South Bachelor Island upstream of the confluence of Lake River with the Columbia River (river mile 91).

Nicole Czarnomski, lower Columbia habitat restoration program manager, said that participants in the reconnection project will cut a channel through previously placed dredge material and will deposit the material along the bank to be entrained by the river in order to create shallow water habitat downstream for species such as chinook salmon, eulachon, and lamprey, among others.

WDFW scientists also want to monitor changes to the constructed channel over time to determine if it is maintaining connection between the wetland and the river.

Funding for this project originates from Washington Department of Natural Resources and Bonneville Power Administration. Monitoring will be supported by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among others.