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Introducing a New Lake Management Technology: Drones

April 5th, 2021

New technologies and innovations continue to propel the lake management industry forward by driving more eco-friendly, efficient, and long-lasting freshwater management approaches. In recent years, SOLitude’s toolbox of solutions has expanded, setting new precedents across the industry and elevating the expectations of our clients. Now, we are excited to introduce our latest advancement, drone technology. 

Generally speaking, drones are not new, but technology has been an important catalyst for modern ideas and methodologies. SOLitude is one of the first to adapt aerial drone services for the management of lakes and ponds. In contrast to hobbyist drones, our unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are custom-built by leading manufacturers for professional applications. Each drone exhibits a 6ft wingspan and is equipped with superior GPS navigation features that allow our licensed operators to pre-program flight routes with precise maneuverability. 

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These advanced features are used to complete herbicide treatments remotely and more efficiently than ever before to manage nuisance and invasive aquatic plants such as water hyacinth and giant salvinia, as well as upland buffer species like cattails and Phragmites australis. These species are best managed when growth is identified early, and aerial drones can help optimize product usage, maximize funds, and limit the impact of herbicides on non-target species.

Furthermore, drones are capable of supporting our team of scientists and aquatic experts by providing another unique view of an aquatic ecosystem. Surveillance, data collection, and mapping capabilities can be completed in areas that are normally inaccessible to ATVs and ground specialists or unsafe to enter due to precarious terrain, the presence of endangered species, or the threat of dangerous animals like snakes and alligators. SOLitude is not only dedicated to preserving the health of the environment, we are committed to the protection of our colleagues. We are excited to use drones to further support the safety of our teams and enhance results for our clients.  

Underwater Advancements 

Beyond drones, we continue to maintain and advance our other industry solutions. Nanobubble technology remains a beneficial tool for water quality enhancement and can support the circulation and oxygenation benefits of traditional floating fountains and diffused aerators. 

Another recent innovation that leverages the power of compressed air is aquatic bubble curtains, which help protect specific areas in lakes, canals, and marinas where floating weeds and trash pose a problem. Air compressors based on land create a wall of rising bubbles that impede debris from entering designated areas, while still allowing boats and wildlife to pass freely. Bubble curtains can also reduce bad odors and muck build-up by helping to prevent the water quality conditions that fuel these issues.

Water quality problems can also be prevented by recurring professional assessments through our in-house lab. The data collected over time is analyzed to identify potential imbalances and implement sustainable management techniques before they get out of hand. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of algae, toxic cyanobacteria, invasive aquatic plants, and other undesirable characteristics. 

 

The Importance of Integrated Management

alum natural management nutrient remediation aerial droneWhile each tool in our toolbox is important, most cannot stand alone. A layered management approach will encourage the most impactful and long-lasting results. Beneficial bacteria, optimized herbicides, nutrient remediation products like Phoslock, Alum, and Biochar, and many other tools play an equal role in our suite of advanced technologies and equipment.

Drones are just one of many exciting developments that underscore SOLitude’s commitment to pushing our industry towards a more sustainable, cost-effective, and technologically advanced future, and we are excited to make this technology available to clients as needs arise. This commitment is upheld by our belief that beautiful, well-balanced waterbodies promote good health, happiness, and meaningful experiences in our communities. 

 

Click here to learn more about our other innovations and professional equipment. 

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