Aerial Site Reconnaissance

Aerial Site Reconnaissance2018-06-13T23:13:41+00:00

Project Description

We use aerial drones, also called unmanned aircraft system (UAS), to capture high-quality imagery and video that is used in a variety of applications to plan, design, survey and monitor restoration projects across the country. While the technology can’t substitute for humans being on the ground, the data we gather often reduces costs, enhances our understanding of site opportunities, and complements our existing services. Below are some examples of how were using UAS imagery to inform our designs.

Site Investigations

Site assessment on Washington’s Chewuch River to monitor bank erosion. Since this photo was taken, the house was moved.


The Middle Fork John Day River in Eastern Oregon was heavily impacted by past bucket dredge mining, logging, agriculture, and grazing. Data captured from our UAV will inform designs to restore spawning and rearing habitat and connectivity with Bear Creek.

Cross-platform Data Analysis

Pre-design flight on the East Fork Hood River, Oregon.

A gradient map illustrating shear stress was overlaid to inform the design process.

Gradients of blue represent water depth and vector lines indicate direction and magnitude of flow.

A gradient map illustrating velocity was overlaid to inform the design process.

Digital elevation models (DEMs) created from aerial imagery using Structure From Motion (SFM).

Structure from Motion

Post-construction flight at the Starvation Flats site in Central Washington.

A Structure From Motion (SFM) model was constructed using post-construction flight imagery.

Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from SFM model.

High Resolution Data

We monitored several miles of Idaho’s Kootenai River after construction. Haze from nearby wildfires cloud the horizon.

A pre-design flight at Perkins Lake in Idaho was used to identify vegetation communities and inform design.

DEMs were used to correlate vegetation communities with low-lying areas in the terrain.

Large scale aerial imagery is composed of dozens or hundreds of individual images.

Post Implementation Monitoring

Post-implementation monitoring of the Chewuch River Mile 10 project in Washington’s North Cascades.

Image taken one year after construction.