Drone helps Lee County keep waterways healthy

Biologists said, especially with more nutrients, invasive plants in waterways like the Caloosahatchee River can grow out of control and can potentially hurt marine life. So new technology is helping fish and other aquatic organisms by keeping our water’s native community healthy.

A new drone used Lee County can collect water samples easily and can help control invasive plants. A flying tech can also help get control of our mosquito problem.

“More nutrients does cause more plant growth,” said Jason Cull with the Lee County Hyacinth Control District. “So that could help make our job harder.”

Cull manages aquatic vegetation and works to manage invasive plant life.

Flying high above Southwest Florida’s lakes, ponds and canals, this new tool will be used to get a better handle on what’s growing underneath the water.

“For navigation, making sure people can use the water bodies, we manage it for water control,” Cull said. “So it’s not flooding neighborhoods out, so water can flow through these tributaries.”

By flying the drone, the district can more efficiently examine waterways and pinpoint exactly what areas need to be treated.

“Not only see the percent of coverage,” Cull said. “We can identify the species.”

The drone can also go right underneath the water to collects samples.

“We can do the sampling in the middle of the lake, or a pond, or a body of water,” Cull said. “So we don’t have to basically launch a boat and do that. So that saves us a lot of time.”

The Hyacinth District said the drone will help apply the treatment more accurately, so chemical so chemicals don’t harm the environment.

This helps sister district Lee County Mosquito Control.

“By them controlling the aquatic plants can help us control certain mosquito species that will grow in those aquatic plants,” Cull said.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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