Eye in the Sky: The Use of Innovative SAR Technology and new GIS Tools to Aid Environmental Compliance and Monitoring

Eye is the Sky will provide an overview of imaging technology and how it has been used in environmental litigation. The panel will also seek to address why state and federal environmental regulatory agencies have been slow to embrace these technologies in compliance monitoring.  

  • Michael Evans, Defenders of Wildlife

Mike works with a variety of biological, and administrative data to improve the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.  His analyses seek to identify patterns in funding and permitting, and integrate spatial data to understand how land use decisions are affecting endangered species. Intova Digital Camera Beyond assessing current patterns, Mike is working to expand the integration of ecological and conservation science into ESA implementation strategies, to help facilitate species recovery.  Additionally, he is interested in providing interactive and dynamic apps and infographics that organize and display ESA data.  These tools will make it easier to understand how the ESA is working, and can help engage the public in endangered species conservation.

  • Ry Covington, SkyTruth

Ry leads SkyTruth’s conservation technology program.  His work combines geographic information science (GIS), remote sensing, and machine learning to identify, map, and monitor threats to the planet.  Ry holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied the spatial dynamics of environmental impact assessment, especially as they relate to questions of environmental injustice and human health risk. RC_photo-300x300Before joining SkyTruth in 2017, Ry led the spatial science program at Defenders of Wildlife, using remotely-sensed imagery to identify priority places for wildlife conservation, track long-term changes in habitat quantity and quality, and make wildlife-relevant spatial data and analyses more accessible and usable on the web.  In his free time, Ry enjoys quality time with family and friends, dusty books, good music, seasonal food and beverages, and all things non-human.


  • Rock Palermo, Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson 

Rock Palermo is an attorney and partner at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC in Lake Charles, Louisiana.   The firm represents landowners across the state in environmental litigation.  image001 Rock holds FAA Flight Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot certificates with commercial airplane single engine land and helicopter privileges, and a jet type rating.  In addition, he holds a FAA Remote Pilot certificate.  Rock has served as Chief Pilot for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office since 2008.   He is a member of the Airborne Law Enforcement Association.