Medina County Parks District
The Medina County Parks District in Ohio called on Davey Resource Group to treat the invasive plant species across 116 acres. DRG used an agricultural spray drone to treat the area efficiently.
The Vaughn Project Area is a 116-acre tract of land owned by the Medina County Parks District. Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) was contracted by Medina Parks in order to treat the invasive plant species across the site, consisting of large monocultures of reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and narrow-leafed cattail (Typha angustifolia). This was in preparation for a large stream and wetland restoration project that Medina Parks has had in the works in conjunction with H2Ohio Grants.
The scope of the invasive treatment plan contained several facets of traditional work, along with the cutting-edge work of agricultural spray drones. The drones would be able to autonomously treat the center of the project area, leaving a 30-foot buffer around the perimeter of the site and around islands of trees. These buffer areas would then be treated by hand, using UTV’s and backpack sprayers. The entire site was treated twice—once in Fall 2021 and once in Summer/Fall 2022.
Continuing The Tradition Of Innovation
DRG literally went above and beyond with drone utilization. This was one of the first projects in which DRG’s agricultural spray drone was used on such a large scale. The drone was selected as the preferred treatment method over more traditional methods like UTV’s or tractors because the ground was very wet and uneven, leaving vehicles susceptible to getting stuck. The vastness of the invasive species infestation also played a role in this decision as approximately 70 acres of the 116-acre site were monocultures of invasives.
Further, the park has a highly utilized walking trail running along the eastern edge of the project area, leading to some logistical workarounds. Operations had to wait for the correct wind to push the spray away from the path; however, even with the correct wind and a 30-foot buffer between the path and project area, operations were paused as bicyclists or pedestrians passed. Even though this slowed down the project, it was key to the safety of passersby, and the park was able to remain open during treatments.