Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017NY237B

Remote Sensing of Harmful Algal Blooms by Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones)

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Ileana Dumitriu, John Halfman

Abstract: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) from various blue-green algae species have added toxins to and thus degraded water quality in a growing list of New York’s waterways. Concern is heightened in those waterways that supply drinking water and recreational services to the surround communities. The transient nature of HABs in both space and time result in monitoring challenges, and therefore adds to the difficulty in scientifically understanding the ecological criteria that trigger HABs. We propose to improve on our initial successes at monitoring algal blooms using drones by outfitting them with spectrometers and ultimately developing a reliable and low cost means to remotely detect and map HABs. The Finger Lakes Institute’s water quality monitoring of the eight easternmost Finger Lakes of central and western New York provide a critical cost-savings partnership and an ideal natural laboratory to develop this new technology.