D1 Hydrological, botanical monitoring and remote sensing

Video contains cadres collected via drone survey.

Main project actions are directed towards restoration of the hydrological regime of the affected project areas and these actions should improve the protected Natura 2000 habitats that are defined mainly through plant cover composition. Therefore monitoring of water levels and plant cover are essential to quantify effects of the implemented restoration measures.

Monitoring transects are organized similarly to the ones that Tartu Un. uses within the project “Quantifing the drainage imapact to the wetlands”. This project started in 2012, is still ongoing, and consists of monitoring transects in 20 monitored mires in Estonia. Results of this project are available for ELF and form a good basis for quantification of the effect of restoration measures due to available comparative datasets. Same type of piezometers with same installing depths and distances from the ditches will be used in proposed monitoring transects. In total 10 transects will be established (2 in Sirtsi, 1 in other 6 sites +, two additional, background transects) will be established in unaffected Sirtsi area to form a baseline dataset recording, including seasonal variation of the water levels.

Radio controlled quadcopters and planes will be used for larger spatial coverage for plant cover and indirect waterlevel monitoring. Currently available consumer-grade cameras and drones allow spatial resolution of ortophotos to be with resolution down to 3 cm per pixel that is sufficent for rapid, general vegetation monitoring. For addition information pease see www.conservationdrones.org. ELF has right now access to quadcopters that allow precise monitoring of the transect scale, additional plane type drone would allows landscape scale monitoring. The monitoring flights are planned twice a year for each project site. Remote sensing is also used for dam monitoring allowing quick check of the field conditions and pinpointing targets for field inspection by foot. This information provides also information regarding the quality of dams and is important to assess whether any improvements are needed or not. If improvements are needed (e.g. during spring with high water movement due to melting snow) there is immediate information regarding problematic dams and relevant works could be planned almost immediately. As app. 240 km of drainage ditches will be closed then areal surveillance gives easiest and quickest way to complete these tasks, i.e. monitoring the success of established dams and infilling ditches. Doing it by foot could be also a lot more complicated during high water level.

Publicly available data supplied by Estonian landboard (ortophotos, lidar data) will also be used for general monitoring purposes besides “in-house” generated remote sensing data.

Locations of the monitoring transects will be chosen during the formulation/updating of the restoration plans in 2016 and 2017.