Last month’s Drones in the Coastal Zone virtual workshop kick-started efforts to establish a regional network and community of expertise in the Southeast United States and the U.S. Caribbean. The workshop was attended by 750 representatives from federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and private industry in the region. Workshop sessions addressed training; data management; mission planning; and regulatory, policy, and ethics considerations.
Participants identified key data gaps in coastal management related to hazards and damage assessments, understanding coastal habitat and environmental condition, and species and wildlife management. Participants also shared best practices that would improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of drone operations. A key outcome was a call for a regional drone network to continue sharing best practices, grow collaborations, and achieve mutual goals in coastal management. All sessions were recorded and are provided on the workshop website, along with additional information resources.
The workshop was organized by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, and Duke University’s Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab.