Drone testing delayed to protect migratory birds
The New Jersey Institute of Technology was set to begin testing drones in July at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service postponed the testing until November.
NJIT professor Michael Chumer told the Atlantic City Press that officials blocked the flights to protect piping plovers and red knots that migrate to New Jersey coastal areas during the summer.
"Fish and Wildlife thought that the testing may be a little too close to the piping plover and red knot, both threatened species, so they imposed seasonal restrictions," Chumer said.
The birds are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and New Jersey law.
NJIT has permission to test drones at the Coast Guard center between Nov. 1 and March 15. The school will be permitted to fly drones from the Coast Guard base as far as 141/2 nautical miles over the ocean.
The college is working to develop drone technology for communications during storms or other catastrophic events.