RALEIGH, NC, August 28, 2020 — W3 Engineering, a coastal and environmental engineering firm offering innovative solutions that work with nature, and Copperhead Environmental Consulting, an environmental consulting firm specializing in environmental regulatory compliance and ecological inventories, conducted bat surveys using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The field testing was performed on August 18-20, 2020 in collaboration with Dr. Aaron Corcoran, head of Sensory & Aerial Ecology Lab, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), and Dr. Richard Carter, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), with a UAS equipped with a thermal camera to perform big brown bat exit surveys from a bridge in western North Carolina.
Big brown bats consume many insect pests, including the corn rootworm which may be the single most important agricultural pest in the United States. The test was conducted to research the efficacy of using UAS for bat surveys. Bat exit surveys are typically performed from one half hour before sunset to one hour past sunset, or until otherwise too dark to see emerging bats. Current observation methods consist of ground-based counts using night-vision equipment, the naked eye, and/or tripod mounted thermal cameras. These methods require close access to roosting sites which may not be available due to location and/or roost characteristics (e.g. wetland habitats, tall bridges, bridges over large bodies of water, etc.). Benefits of UAS assisted bat exit surveys include data collection in difficult to access or inaccessible areas, time and cost savings associated with site access, permanently recorded data, and increased count accuracy.
“Using UAS systems for conducting bat exit surveys allows for comprehensive coverage of a bat roost and for continued data collection after darkness impedes human vision,” said Piper Roby, research director, Copperhead Consulting.
“UAS assisted bat exit counts allow bat biologists to collect and record accurate data while providing access to sites typically inaccessible, saving both time and money,” said Eric Black, senior environmental project manager, W3 Engineering.
About W3 Engineering
W3 Engineering is a coastal and environmental engineering firm headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, that designs and builds projects that work with nature. We represent decades of engineering and natural sciences experience working in conjunction with a trusted network of partners to assist our clients with environmental planning, engineering, coastal management, unmanned aircraft systems, and emergency services.
We apply the right tools necessary to create the optimal build for any site. We combine our expert environmental science skills with aerial imagery and video to help develop strategies to mitigate potential impacts involving critical environmental factors such as wetlands and streams, protected species, and invasive species encroachment, and to streamline environmental permitting.
W3 Engineering offers revolutionary shoreline protection and management solutions that provide flood damage reduction and lasting shoreline erosion protection with our Atlantic Reefmaker system. We intentionally align natural and engineering processes to design efficient and sustainable structures to handle the changing water levels and decrease the frequency of coastal flooding. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Copperhead Environmental Consulting
Copperhead Environmental Consulting, Inc., specializing in environmental regulatory compliance and ecological inventories, is located in Paint Lick, KY. Established in 2004, specializes in environmental regulatory compliance and ecological inventories. We have conducted projects throughout the United States in a wide variety of habitats and are dedicated to providing high quality environmental services to our clients.
Our core services include natural resource inventories, implementing management plans, and providing technical assistance for other natural resource management needs. Our biologists possess a solid understanding of natural communities and take the time to review and interpret pertinent literature and regulations. We have extensive experience in biological assessments and are sensitive to the needs of clients ranging from national parks to engineering ﬁrms. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.