The Harris Center has added a new tool to our conservation easement monitoring program: aerial photography with a drone. The view from above allows us to scan the interiors of properties for large-scale changes, such as new buildings or timber operations that we might not otherwise see when walking the property boundaries.
Drone flights will never fully replace boots-on-the-ground monitoring, as walking the property is essential for seeing what’s happening under the overstory — and those visits are a great time to chat with landowners. In addition, not all of our protected properties are candidates for aerial monitoring, due to proximity to houses or lack of an opening or clearing for a safe take-off and landing.
In order to fly these missions, Land Protection Specialist James Newsom acquired a Part 107 certificate from the FAA, which allows him to conduct commercial drone flights. FAA rules require that he fly no higher than 400 feet above ground level, maintain visual line of sight, and not fly above people.
For more information on the Harris Center’s use of drones for monitoring conservation easements, please contact James Newsom at (603) 525-3394 or by email.