We are currently working for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of the Natural Course EU Life Integrated Project, undertaking a full survey of all the main rivers and surrounding areas within the River Irwell catchment in Greater Manchester.
We recently undertook a trial and training day with Groundwork Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to see how drones can be used to identify and survey invasive species as a new innovative way for tackling INNS across both Manchester and Yorkshire.
As part of Natural Course, GMCA has procured a consultant to survey the presence of Giant Hogweed within the River Irwell Catchment. The Irwell Catchment Partnership created a working group who could strategically co-ordinate efforts to tackle the issue. Staff and volunteers from member organisations, including the River Stewardship Company, will carry out initial walking surveys on land adjacent to the river to understand where Giant Hogweed occurs.
Because some areas along the river bank are difficult to physically access, Groundwork have employed a trainee drone pilot who is supporting the survey of invasive species along the Irwell Catchment as part of the Resilient River Valleys project. The team are testing to see if footage recorded by the drone can be used to identify invasive species, rather than having to send a survey team on land, which is more labour intensive and challenging. This data will be used to acquire and assign the necessary resources to help tackle the invasive species.
To read more about the trial see Groundwork: Using drones to survey invasive species