Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"Marketplace Money"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
KNPR's State of Nevada About SON Archives Participate Specials
Mark Kleiman Talks Marijuana Laws
Gut Feeling: What We Learned From The Hazda About Digestion
Missing Out On A High School Diploma
Council Votes For Horse-Drawn Carriages
Utah Keeps 'Utes' As Mascot
The Progressive Bluegrass Sounds Of The Infamous Stringdusters
Why Don't We Know Who's Behind the Kelly Cheating Scandal?
The Good Foods Of Lent
Castro And Patrick Spar Over Immigration
Boycott Las Vegas Say Social Conservatives
How Safe Is Your Food?
Robert Coover And The Return Of The Brunists
Behind The Bundy Ranch Standoff
BASE Jumping: The Allure And The Danger
Can 'Serious' Reading Happen Online?
Lynne Jasames On Why 'It's Okay To Cry'
Anti-Government Protesters Win Round Against BLM
Tax Advice For The Alternative Economy
The Secret History Of Las Vegas
Deal Reached Between North Las Vegas And Labor Unions
Bryan Ferry (Of Roxy Music) Brings His Orchestra To Vegas
Is Tipping Obsolete?

U.S. Geological Survey To Use Drones To Monitor Wildlife
U.S. Geological Survey To Use Drones To Monitor Wildlife

AIR DATE: June 6, 2013


Mike Hutt, Director, USGS National Unmanned Aircraft System

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- It’s cheaper than helicopters and it doesn’t scare the sheep and deer. The U.S. Geological Survey now uses drones to track wildlife and is exploring other ways the systems can replace or supplement manned aircraft missions.

“It’s a fairly quiet and kind of an earthy-friendly approach to monitoring things we need to monitor,” says Mike Hutt, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey National Unmanned Aircraft System.  

In Nevada, two upcoming studies will incorporate drones, one for mule deer and one for bighorn sheep. Hutt says that not only are the drones less expensive and more friendly to the environment, they also have applications where safety is a concern.

“There are certain things that unmanned aircraft systems can do that we don’t want to use a manned aircraft for,” says Hutt. “Flying in mountains, flying at night, flying in smoky conditions.”

They’re also a lot less expensive than manned aircraft missions. Hutt says the UAS systems that the USGA uses cost a few tens of thousands of dollars.

But what do the wildlife think of the metal creatures hovering in their midst?

“One of the first projects we monitored was sandhill cranes in the San Luis Valley in Colorado. We weren’t really sure how the cranes were going to react. But when the cranes went to roost at night we actually flew the system over them, 75 feet over them, and the sandhill cranes didn’t even look up,” says Hutt. “And we’ve flown them over larger mammals, wild horses and burrows ... elk, sheep. For the most part, they really don’t pay any attention to us.”

    comments powered by Disqus
    Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.