[9/3/19] Drones to Identify Salmon Spawning Nests

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Starting this month and going through November of 2019, biologists in North Central Washington will use drones to count salmon spawning nests. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will partner with Washington State University on a research project to use an unmanned aerial vehicle to advance conservation efforts for summer Chinook salmon. They’re working to identify and inventory salmon spawning nests, called redds, in three areas of the Upper Wenatchee River watershed – near Lake Wenatchee, near Tumwater Campground, and near Blackbird Island in Leavenworth). Surveys conducted on foot and by boat will also be used. Drone flights will take place twice per week for about an hour, typically during early morning hours.

Fish and Wildlife said the use of a drone should provide improved data for more accurate population forecasting. It is also less expensive and labor intensive than manual count methods used in the past.