The Spey Fisheries Board and the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative have located hidden patches of invasive non-native plants by flying a high-tech drone over the River Spey.
The comprehensive aerial photography survey of the lower stretch of the River Spey from Fochabers to Spey Bay was funded by Crown Estate Scotland.
Brian Shaw, biologist at the Spey Fisheries Board explained how the use of a drone can help with the work they’ve being doing for years.
He said: “We’ve been tackling invasive species along the River Spey for a number of years now, particularly working on giant hogweed, and we have made excellent progress upstream of Fochabers.”
He added: “We are now turning our attention to the lower Spey, but the woodland alongside the river is really dense and finding the plants is extremely difficult. By using aerial photography, we are able to ensure we aren’t missing anything.”
Commercial Drone Professional understands ROAVR Unmanned Aviation Services used a state of the art Circumspicio survey solution to collect the data, as part of the initiative.
The invasive plants out-compete native flowers and disrupt the ecosystem, leading to serious burns on contact with the skin presenting a real hazard to humans
The initiative is a four-year partnership project, led by Scottish Natural Heritage, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and working with many fisheries trusts and boards.