Technology reveals hidden Teanaway

Aerial LiDAR surveys help map the Teanaway landscape

Planes zigzagged over the Teanaway Community Forest in April with highly sophisticated instruments on board to see what lies beneath the mountain forests. Using technology called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), the aerial surveys collected detailed information about the condition of the forest and the contours beneath its landscape.

High-quality LiDAR images can provide information on the shape of the ground and the kind of vegetation that covers it. DNR and WDFW staff will use data from the surveys to identify floodplains, steep slopes, and historic landslides, which can help indicate areas of concern. LiDAR imagery can also reveal stream channels and old road or railroad beds. Among other uses, the agencies could, for example, use this information to uncover where a road restricts a stream’s natural movement, and then help determine alternate road routes.

LiDAR data can also reveal the kinds and height of existing tree canopies, which may help reveal priority areas for habitat preservation.

Agency staff are looking forward to using the data to help prioritize future efforts.

Three LiDAR images.
Shown in LiDAR imagery is the main branch of the Teanaway River.