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Policy Recommendations for Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations in the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)

dc.contributor.advisor Johnston, David
dc.contributor.author Parkman, Joanna
dc.date.accessioned 2021-04-30T23:57:26Z
dc.date.available 2021-04-30T23:57:26Z
dc.date.issued 2021-04-30
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22710
dc.description.abstract Unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, also known as drones) are revolutionizing environmental monitoring along North Carolina’s changing coastline. Drones are already utilized by researchers at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) to monitor intertidal oyster reefs, map submerged and emergent vegetated ecosystems, quantify shoreline change, and identify marine debris, among other projects, but the Reserve Program lacks a comprehensive policy to guide broader use and manage associated risks. As a result, both commercial and recreational drone use present ongoing management challenges for Reserve staff, posing potential hazards to both visitors and wildlife. This project provides relevant policies, key considerations, and tailored recommendations to assist the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and NERR in developing a UAS policy and permitting process. The following questions guide this work: 1) How are other agencies and organizations managing drone operations? 2) Which “best practices” for environmental management, monitoring, and conservation are especially applicable to the Reserve Program? 3) What components should be considered for inclusion in the N.C. Coastal Reserve and NERR UAS policy? Based on a literature review of scientific journal articles and policy documents, four major areas of focus emerged, including wildlife protection, visitor safety, flight planning, and human privacy and security. These priority components can serve as a jumping off point for the creation of a Reserve UAS policy. An accompanying resource library, draft permit application, and concept of operations document will support North Carolina Coastal Reserve and NERR staff as they draft and finalize a UAS policy adaptive to rapidly changing technology. The resulting policy has the potential to be shared across the NERR System as a model framework.
dc.subject drones, UAS, National Estuarine Research Reserve, North Carolina Coastal Reserve, coastal policy, NERR
dc.title Policy Recommendations for Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations in the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)
dc.type Master's project
dc.department Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
duke.embargo.months 0


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