WET completed an aerial vegetation survey for a utility company in southwestern Montana to determine post-construction vegetation re-growth. Under the requirements of Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity, the disturbed areas from construction must be re-vegetated to 75% of original vegetative cover. WET used the eBee RTK UAV equipped with a near-infrared camera to collect data to estimate the extent of re-vegetated cover and provide justification to close the permit. The near-infrared photographs were processed using Postflight Terra 3D software. The software was used to generate a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) which indicates plant photosynthetic activity. The NDVI was then used to calculate vegetative cover of the disturbed area as compared to surrounding native vegetation. This innovative method of determining vegetative cover replaced the traditional visual estimation method performed by ground personnel. This aerial survey provided the client with science based results free of human bias associated with the traditional visual method. WET also reduced safety risks by avoiding personnel traversing steep slopes at the site.
This project highlights WET’s innovation and ability to utilize cutting-edge technology to provide high quality deliverables to its clients.