The newest member to the Fluvial Remote Sensing Lab at the University of Wyoming, Ryan Richardson, has been taking flight recently with two guest lectures on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) research. Our lab last year acquired a UAS with the goal of creating high resolution maps of rivers at a lower cost compared to a traditional LiDAR flight. Initial efforts can be viewed on Toby Stegman's page from his research site on Teton Creek in Idaho. This new platform can potentially benefit river restoration efforts by offering a more cost effective and timely way to monitor a site post-construction. The two lectures were held at Furman University and here on campus at UW over the past several months. The purpose of these lectures were to introduce new remote sensing students to cutting edge research techniques, including our own, that are utilizing UAS to collect data for projects ranging from rapid landslide assessment, crop management for agriculture, and fluvial geomorphology. The lectures also highlighted recent legal developments announced this week from the FAA regarding the use of UAS by both commercial and recreational users. Thankfully, these new proposed rules will not impede our ability to use these systems in the upcoming field season. If you are interested in our UAS research feel free to contact us about future research opportunities either here in the comment section or on our facebook page.
Ph.D student Jason Alexander, co-advised by Brandon McElroy and Carl Legleiter, has received a seed award from the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping. This grant will support collection of LiDAR topographic data along the Niobrara River, the focus of Jason's proposal: Quantifying the relationship between channel morphology and the topography of large emergent sandbars. This study will not only yield geomorphic insight but also help to inform management of sandbar habitats used by threatened and endangered migratory bird species. Congratulations to Jason and stay tuned for more from the Niobrara.