PROJECT: The Upper Valley Land Trust in New England is a new partner for LightHawk this year.
With more than 500 easements spread over 45 towns in Vermont and New Hampshire, monitoring takes thousands of hours each year. "We tried hiring a drone pilot, and purchasing aerial photos," noted Jason Berard, Stewardship Director for the land trust.
"Working with LightHawk gave the best results by far with 317 properties photographed in just six hours!" - Jason Berard, Stewardship Director of Upper Valley Land Trust
PROJECT: Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust Relationship Building
With our partner, the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust in Colorado, we flew to show Colorado state representative Donald Valdez their important work in the San Luis valley. The size of Connecticut, this is one of the largest alpine valleys in the world. Some funding for conserving this area comes from the state lottery, but that funding is perpetually in jeopardy. Rep. Valdez is now armed with stories and images of how much the program has benefited farmers, residents and tourists to defend the law.
OUTCOME: Just a few weeks after the flight with Valdez, a landowner called the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust to conserve her 800 acres. She learned about this opportunity after Valdez told her about the flight.
"This is way worse than I ever expected..."
"I didn't expect this. I didn't expect our beach to wash into the estuary," commented Serge Dedina, Mayor of Imperial Beach, CA as ocean water flooded the streets of his city.
This January in Imperial Beach, California, along with many other coastal communities in North America, residents experienced a sample of the inundation possible for future sea level rise during a king tide. King tides occur naturally when the alignment of the sun, moon and earth causes high tides to be much higher than usual. The resulting flooding shows us first hand what sea level rise will do to our coasts in the future.
"We have higher tides so we have coastal flooding going on today, the worst that I've ever seen in my 40 years of living in Imperial Beach," noted Mayor Dedina. However he hasn't lost hope. Dedina is committed to confronting the reality of sea level rise, and gathering community and national support to adapt. "It's a wake up call. The reality is, it's not easy to get people to think about what's going to happen in 100 years... but the way to frame that discussion is through coastal flooding. It's less abstract."