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Rising water levels and increased frequency of extreme weather events are rapidly eroding coastlines around the world. Despite the challenges posed by ongoing climate change, restoration projects have the potential to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change in coastal communities. Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as the method for documenting coastal restoration projects and natural disasters is becoming more popular as UAV technology is becoming cheaper and more user friendly. Global efforts are underway to restore coastal ecosystem services that lessen the impact of natural disasters and promote native biodiversity, but the integration of UAV acquired coastal inventory data is lacking consistency. I examined case studies from a diverse group of restoration projects using UAV derived data for best practices to create a standardized UAV coastal inventory protocol. I tested the proposed UAV coastal inventory protocol on a green infrastructure project on the southern coast of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, United States. Lake Superior is experiencing record wave heights and water levels, intensifying coastal erosion and the need for restoration project monitoring. I propose standardizing coastal inventory data collection to allow for consistency in the comparison of future coastal restoration project results. The implications of comparative photographic analysis derived from the standardized UAV coastal inventory protocol will allow project funders to compare past project results with increased transparency. This standardized protocol will also help coastal restoration planners compare strategies during the planning process of projects to inform decision making and local policy change.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Society for Ecological Restoration