The Nature Conservancy uses DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay, California

Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends is no small task. But The Nature Conservancy is up to the challenge, working every day to protect our planet.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since starting in 1951, the organization — and their team of more than 600 scientists — has been wildly successful in achieving its goals. To date, they have protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. With ongoing projects in 72 countries, the organization addresses threats to conservation involving climate change, access to clean water, ocean health, and everything in between.

The Nature Conservancy Pilot Kirk Klausmeyer prepares his drone for take-off in Tomales Bay.

The team at The Nature Conservancy began using drones to help scientists in the field collect critical data to better understand what’s happening in aquatic habitats. Most recently they put DroneDeploy to work on a local project here in California with Hog Island Oyster Company.

We recently spoke with Matthew Merrifield, CTO at The Nature Conservancy

We got the opportunity to speak with Matthew Merrifield, the Chief Technology Officer at The Nature Conservancy, about partnering with Hog Island Oyster Company and how his team used DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay.

“We find that the drones can provide a lot of primary science data for us,” says Matt. “The value-add of drones to us was the ability to capture really ephemeral activities, things that were changing on the landscape really quickly.”

Matt is leading the charge to integrate drone technology into field operations and sees drones playing a big role in achieving the organizations goals now and in the future. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work with DroneDeploy, check out the short video below.

Where to Learn More

  • Learn more about The Nature Conservancy by visiting their website.
  • Check out Hog Island Oyster Company’s website to learn more about their work.
  • Scientists continue to adopt drones for field research. Read our recent case study with Ocean’s Unmanned to see how Maritime archaeologists use drone maps to survey shallow-water shipwrecks in marine sanctuaries.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.

Mapping Aquatic Habitats with Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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