||Salt marshes provide coastal storm protection, fishery habitat, water filtration,
carbon storage, and ecotourism. While estimated at 3.8 million acres in the U.S.,
salt marsh habitats have declined rapidly over the last three decades. Current monitoring
practices for salt marshes are resource intensive, and often cause damage when walking
through them. Advances in unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, or drones) enable remote
monitoring of marshes and can improve data quality, efficiency, immediacy, and safety,
often with reduced costs. Modern UAS monitoring methods were developed and tested
at three salt marshes in Beaufort, NC, to establish their reliability and replicability.
The resulting handbook derived from these studies demonstrates the costs and benefits
of UAS-based salt marsh monitoring and provides methods and best practices for organizations
seeking to implement drone-based monitoring of salt marshes.