Aerial view of a basking shark

So, what does good look like for your ecological survey needs?

Whether your survey is being commissioned for a pre or post construction purpose, collection of baseline data, marine planning, condition monitoring or the provision of population estimates to inform environmental impact assessments, there is an art to ensuring that the right information and data is captured.

APEM work with their clients to help ensure that the design of the survey will satisfy all stakeholders’ needs. Our technical experience is second to none and over the years we have fine-tuned our methodologies to ensure that we can provide the best possible advice that will deliver exactly what you need.

Grid verses Transect-based designs

There are benefits to both approaches, however we often find that because a survey has been specified in a certain way during commissioning that we are asked to provide proposals that are not necessarily going to deliver the data that is actually required for a defined objective.

Considerations for digital aerial survey design include:

  • Percentage coverage – how much of the surface area is required?
  • The size and shape of the buffer around the area to be surveyed
  • The species that are of interest and typical abundances
  • Seasonality and weather
  • Location and size of the site to determine the optimal duration of survey
  • Contextual influences relative to resolution, aircraft height restrictions, time series

What will satisfy the regulator?

The growing offshore wind energy industry has increased the need for high quality baseline information in EIAs to determine if the scale of impact on the environment is acceptable.

Based on our experience of delivering thousands of surveys, we can advise you on the nuances that the regulator will be looking for and the best approach to presenting a robust data set as well as options for sound statistical analysis. A correctly planned and executed baseline survey helps to expedite a more efficient planning process.

The altitude at which a survey is flown is much higher than that of a visual survey, ensuring that marine wildlife is not disturbed. APEM’s state-of-the-art cameras are mounted inside the aircraft using stabilised camera mounts, which overcomes any vibration issues, and provides industry leading image quality, essential for species level identification.

The ultrahigh resolution of the stills (not video) that we capture gives a permanent record that allows the imagery to be effortlessly reviewed again at a later date if required and supports robust quality control procedures that we perform at every stage of the analysis. These can also be shared with independent analysts easily if required, providing the highest level of confidence in the data.

Using the latest digital technology, we capture data efficiently and cost effectively, and with an onboard camera technician, we constantly monitor what is being captured and adjust as required. Therefore, mitigating the risk or requirement to fly another survey.

The highly experienced APEM team manage the whole process, from initial survey specification, design and planning, through to the delivery of the EIA and recommendations.

To find out more visit our aerial survey page or contact us, we’d be delighted to help you get your next environmental survey right first time.

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More about us

APEM are a global environmental consultancy providing independent advice and guidance to support government and environmental regulatory guidelines.