Cherokee Federal employee and veteran

Cherokee Federal and partners leverage the power of UAVs to conserve our nation’s natural resources

November 18, 2020

2020 has been a challenging year for local communities, private land owners and the federal agencies that assist them. From supply chain disruptions brought by COVID-19 to critical response and recovery of several natural disasters, including historic wildfires devastating the West and record-breaking tropical storms in the East, it has never been more crucial to gather actionable data to make the best decisions possible. Despite today’s unprecedented challenges, we have never been more equipped as a nation to respond by leveraging technology to strategically find solutions.


There has been a dramatic increase in the availability of cost-effective and mission-efficient unmanned systems (UXS). Multi-purpose benefits from UXS for land, sea and air applications are propelling demand by U.S. government decision-makers for progressive data. Geospatial data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have revolutionized federal agencies’ conservation and land management capabilities. Whether it’s advancing research in Earth sciences, improving wildlife management or continuously providing up-to-date knowledge about America’s forests and watersheds, UAVs will play a major role in present and future conservation efforts. Using drones to generate useful aerial imagery is also a part of an effective response to natural disasters and other emergencies, including wildfires and oil spills. Recent regulations have established new conditions advancing drone applications, which is an effort that Cherokee Federal subject matter experts have contributed to — ensuring tribes are included in public operations and jurisdictional consideration.



Cherokee Nation Technologies (CNT), a Cherokee Federal company, has been at the forefront of UAV applications, delivering proven results, leading-edge knowledge and end-to-end data management services to help agencies get the most wisdom from their drone programs. CNT works closely with Juniper Unmanned who specializes in providing natural resource solutions through top-rated and continuously trained FAA Part 107-certified pilots, remote sensing specialists, safety and compliance experts, as well as a large selection of advanced systems and AI-enabled products. Together, Cherokee and Juniper solve complex agricultural, environmental and conservation challenges for the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Watch the video featuring leaders from Cherokee and Juniper as they explore how the power of UAVs provide federal customers with actionable data and wisdom to help them make smarter decisions.

                                Cherokee Federal and Juniper Unmanned leverage powers of UAVs to create actionable data


During this strategic partnership, the team supported conservation and agricultural improvement efforts across the U.S. with most recent task orders being completed in Nebraska with USDA. Using drones, sensors and resultant data the team was able to determine the best use for a piece of land for a farmer in Nebraska. The team surveyed 1,000 acres in one day, which would have taken two teams of surveyors three months to complete. Equipped with GIS software, LIDAR and other smart sensors, the team captured layers of geo-referenced data and imagery that includes elevation, topography data, cropping data, and land ownership information in addition to detecting drought.


Cherokee Federal's team of UXS companies also responded to natural disasters, via the Department of the Interior, using drones to generate useful aerial imagery. Our team implemented best practices, including advanced planning, preparation and development of formal protocols with local partners and stakeholders. This helped the government and partnering teams perform missions more safely, economically, efficiently, effectively and in an environmentally friendly manner.



The Cherokee Federal-Juniper partnership offers several capabilities. Our support services for customers, such as the Department of Agriculture NRCS include:

  • Program Management
  • Platforms / Equipment
  • Sensors
  • Data Processing / Product Development Capabilities

In addition, we offer expertise to support Emergency Watershed Protection programs in the following areas:

  • Assessment
  • Feasibility
  • Planning
  • Engineering
  • Project progress monitoring
  • Project audit
  • Ongoing site/watershed monitoring


Cherokee’s partnership with Juniper creates a unique value proposition for federal agencies. Our tribal 8(a) contracting benefits offer a flexible, convenient and streamlined contract management process that paves the way for accurate, cost-effective, speedy, safe and repeatable data resources that are backed by the highest professional standards in the UAV industry. With this partnership, agencies can track the progress of emergency watershed projects, easements and Farmland Protection Policy efforts through a single UAV source.


Additionally, by working with Cherokee and Juniper, government customers will experience these key contracting benefits:




Cherokee Federal – a division of Cherokee Nation Businesses – is a team of tribally owned federal contracting companies focused on building solutions, solving complex challenges, and serving the nation’s mission around the globe for more than 60 federal clients. Cherokee Federal’s team of companies, with more than 3,300 employees, manages nearly 2,000 projects of all sizes across the construction, consulting, engineering and manufacturing, health, and technology portfolios.


Cherokee Nation Technologies is a part of Cherokee Federal’s technology business line and serves government clients with time-tested solutions that increase client effectiveness through the intelligent use of technology. CNT’s expertise includes software and application services, network services and business process services.


Juniper Unmanned is based in Golden, Colorado, and provides asset management solutions for commercial, federal, and local/regional/state government organizations. The company integrates best-in-class sensing and analytics technologies. When combined with Juniper’s engineered processes, advanced software and analytics, clients receive unparalleled data and actionable intelligence to improve their business. Clients trust Juniper Unmanned’s advanced sensing and analytics solutions to deliver unparalleled excellence in data collection, data processing and enablement services across a wide range of industries.



Visit Cherokee Nation Technologies for more information or contact program director Thomas DeGroot | 907.286.5497. Connect with Cherokee Federal on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter to stay up to date on company news.



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