The Power of Drone Applications for Invasive Species Management
In recent years, the lake and pond management industry has seen exponential growth and innovation. As an industry leader, SOLitude is dedicated to leveraging new technologies to make freshwater management safer, more accessible, and more efficient — all while reducing our environmental impact. The newest tool in our toolbox of professional solutions is advanced drones.
Also known as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), drones are changing the way we approach the management of nuisance and invasive weeds. They play a key role throughout the process, starting with data collection and surveillance. With a bird’s-eye view of the site, professionals are better able to map target areas and identify safety challenges such as difficult terrain, flooding, infrastructure damage, or dangerous wildlife.
Advanced Drone Technology & Features
Drones are operated by our experienced in-house pilots licensed through the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). After site surveillance, pilots use GIS software to preprogram custom treatment routes for precise herbicide applications in target zones.
Our state-of-the-art drones have a 6ft wingspan and advanced battery capacity, allowing them to transport approximately 35 pounds of liquid or granular herbicide during an application route. Once emptied — often in just 2-3 minutes — the drones are returned to a designated reloading station. Reloading can be completed onshore, in a boat, or from a truck bed. This efficient technology is an excellent tool for wide-area coverage in difficult-to-reach or ecologically sensitive environments as it can treat up to 200 acres a day, making it a cost-effective solution for large or remote areas.
Managing Nuisance & Invasive Vegetation via Drones
Drones allow us to manage many different nuisance or invasive plant species. Some of the most common floating aquatic weeds include water hyacinth, giant salvinia, water chestnut, and crested floating heart. Common emergent wetland plants include cattails, phragmites, Brazilian pepper, and flowering rush.
The drone’s highly-targeted applications make it easier to access sensitive or hard-to-reach areas without putting the environment or aquatic experts at risk. Areas that are normally inaccessible to ATVs and ground specialists can now be effectively managed with precise applications.
Drones: Improving Vegetation Management
In addition to optimizing the treatment process, drones are discrete and less intrusive in residential and recreational locations. HOAs and golf courses take pride in cultivating beautiful landscaping around their water resources. Drones eliminate the need for specialists to interfere with these areas and help ensure flowers, turf, and other ornamental growth remains untouched. Most importantly, our drones are configured with software designed to block recording near living spaces.
Drones have changed the game in many ways for lake and pond management experts, and we continue to uncover new ways to integrate this exciting technology into our many service offerings and annual management programs. As we continue to expand these abilities, we’re also working to develop other innovations to support healthy, beautiful, long-lasting waterbodies.
Advanced Drone Technology In Action
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.