UAV ANALYSIS OF RIVER HABITAT FOR ATLANTIC SALMON CONSERVATION
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Species distribution models (SDM) use presence data and environmental layers to predict spatial distribution of species. SDM could be used to denote important habitat for river restoration of endangered species such as Atlantic salmon. However, the extraction of environmental layers from rivers is complicated due to flow, light penetration, turbidity and refraction. This thesis presents two studies that look at the accuracy and feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to extract environmental data from the Upper Salmon River. The first study demonstrates the high accuracy of substrate size analysis from a UAV created orthomosaic. The second study creates slope and flow layers from a digital elevation model (DEM) created from UAV imagery, as well as substrate and presence data to model an accurate SDM of important spawning habitat. This shows the potential of UAVs and the further need to explore the use of SDMs in river habitat.