Yurok tribe receives grant for aerial mapping aircraft – Times-Standard

After a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Yurok Tribe plans to get a custom fixed-wing aircraft that will provide mapping and data collection for their lands to aid in habitat restoration. , resource management and visualization of the effects of climate change.

The plane, which has yet to be built, will contain high-resolution aerial imaging and light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, capabilities, meaning it can capture accurate three-dimensional maps of the floor. The aircraft will be acquired by Condor Aviation, a partnership between the Yurok Tribe Fisheries Department and the Yurok Tribe Construction Corporation.

“More than anything, this is a game changer for the environment in Northern California. Over the past 150 years, extractive industries have severely degraded landscapes that were once home to nearly 100 yurok villages and an incredible diversity of fish species. , plants and animals. Condor Aviation will dramatically increase our ability to care for our rivers, forests and grasslands,” said Frankie Myers, president of the Yurok Tribe Construction Corporation in a statement. “On behalf of the Yurok Tribe, I want to sincerely thank the Economic Development Administration for investing in our community and revitalizing our natural resources.”

Condor Aviation will provide contract mapping services to various partners, including those at the federal, state and local level in the Klamath Basin and Northern California.

The Yurok Tribe staff, made up of approximately 80 biologists, technical experts, equipment operators and technicians, plans to use the aerial imagery provided by the plane to help develop projects to restore the Klamath and Klamath river basins. Sacramento, which are the two largest watersheds in California. Government agencies, non-profit organizations and private companies can contract with Condor Aviation’s LiDAR and mapping program to receive data collection and analysis.

“This investment is good for the reservation, good for jobs, and good for California,” North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman said in a statement.

LiDAR systems use pulsed lasers to measure distances to earth. The pulses reflect off anything on the Earth’s surface, such as trees and structures, creating three-dimensional reproductions of whatever they are reflecting off. For example, LiDAR is able to measure canopy composition and height, classify vegetation, and identify combustibles in scale.

The company that will build the plane and the timeline for the tribe to receive it are yet to be decided.

“Condor Aviation will provide the highest quality LiDAR and mapping services to organizations in Northern California. It will also create new economic development and employment opportunities for citizens of Yurok interested in pursuing technology-based and/or aviation-related career paths,” Myers said in a statement.

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