Automated Monitoring Systems

Learn the Basics

BioSonics offers unique and innovative solutions to monitor fish passage and assess behavioral impacts on aquatic animals including marine mammals, fish, and diving birds.

BioSonics sonar systems are often installed in fixed-position deployments to observe the underwater environment over a period of weeks, months or even years at a time. Such long-term observations are essential in monitoring changes in the behavior and for assessing fluctuations in the abundance of aquatic animals.

Automated Monitoring Systems

Applications for this technology include water intakes, marine and hydrokinetic turbine installations, spillways, screens, and fish bypass structures where concerns are raised about the impacts of operations on aquatic species. BioSonics has extensive experience designing and deploying hydroacoustic monitoring systems for a wide range of project applications; from traditional hydroelectric to nuclear power to the emerging ocean renewable energy industry.


BioSonics automated monitoring systems provide a cost effective solution for 316(b) entrainment and impingement monitoring at cooling water intake structures.

Download the PDF Infosheet

Project Portfolio

Click to access images and detailed descriptions of real-world applications and contact information for additional references.

Automated Salmon Counter

Automated Salmon Counter

Completely automatic system to enumerate returning adult sockeye salmon in the Quinault River. First of its kind in the world.
PDF  |  Video

RITE - Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy

RITE - Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy

Key in gaining regulatory approval for this tidal energy project in the East River, NY, a network of 24 transducers provided continuous, full water column coverage for over 2 years.
PDF  |  Video

Yukon River Kinetic Hydropower Monitoring

Yukon River Kinetic Hydropower Monitoring

Baseline study to evaluate potential behavioral impacts of raft-mounted MHK turbine on salmon migration and resident species.
PDF  |  Video

Biological Triggering - SMART Dam in NY

Biological Triggering - SMART Dam in NY

An unmanned hydro dam on the Mohawk River where hydroacoustic sensors automatically activate spill gates to allow blueback herring passage during outmigration.
PDF  |  Video

Small Hydro Dam �  Remote Location in Central CA

Small Hydro Dam Remote Location in Central CA

FERC relicensing project for small hydro dam. An entrainment risk study wherein BioSonics systems were used to quantify Salmonid movement for several months during the summer.
PDF  |  Video

Traditional Hydro Dam � Fish Entrainment Study

Traditional Hydro Dam Fish Entrainment Study

North Fork Dam, Clackamas River, WA Study on large hydropower generating station to monitor penstock intake and quantify entrainment risk of juvenile salmonids.
PDF  |  Video

Remote Observatory System � Reef Monitoring

Remote Observatory System Reef Monitoring

Autonomous, submersible echosounder with a transducer mounted on a dual axis rotator provides 24/7 real time information on reef fish biomass and behavior. Developed jointly with NOAA and GLRL engineers.
PDF  |  Video

Nuclear Cooling Water Intake  - J.A.  Fitzpatrick Plant

Nuclear Cooling Water Intake - J.A. Fitzpatrick Plant

Fixed position study to compare potential entrainment rates of near shore and deep water intake locations.
PDF  |  Video

Cabled Ocean Observing System � Neptune (Canada)

Cabled Ocean Observing System Neptune (Canada)

Deployed on this pioneering cabled ocean observatory off Vancouver Island, Canada. A submerged, 3-frequency system provides backscatter data for research of fish and zooplankton distribution and abundance.
PDF  |  Video

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BioSonics Unique Technology Advantage

BioSonics split beam technology can continuously determine a target's position in three dimensions; range, bearing, and vertical resolution. The position of each target passing through the sound field is calculated by accurately measuring the differences in an echo's arrival time to individual elements in the transducer. Three dimension tracking provides valuable behavioral information used to classify each target. BioSonics unique software incorporates target size, swimming speed, and trajectory data to create "tracks" and classify each target (e.g. as an actively swimming marine mammal, individual fish, a school of fish, or passively drifting debris).

This cross-section view shows three split beam transducers monitoring from a near shore location to create an acoustic curtain with full water column coverage.

Automated Monitoring Systems

System Description

BioSonics sonar utilizes a digital, calibrated acoustic signal to determine target, position, size, and swimming behavior multiple times per second. The result is true 3-dimensional target tracking. Automated Monitoring System features include:

  • "Watchdog" functionality to monitor system performance metrics and send status updates and alerts.
  • Automated real time signal processing to build track lists and email summary reports for all results. Reporting intervals can be hourly, daily, or weekly.
  • Integrated orientation sensors and rotators with programmable scanning modes to optimize sampling volume and maximize monitoring coverage.

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Download Spec Sheet

Digital Scientific EchosoundersDT-X Portable Echosounder

  • Quantify fish passage at hydro dams, water intakes, and other challenging environments
  • Detect and count targets of interest in river, lake and nearshore marine environments

System Features

  • Rack mounted electronics in durable storage case
  • Pull out keyboard and integrated LCD monitor
  • Multiplexing echosounder runs 4 or more transducers from single surface unit
  • ETHERNET remote control, wired or WIRELESS
  • Digital split beam transducers
  • Integrated orientation sensor input


    Digital Scientific Echosounders
  • Automation - Data collection and storage functions are completely automated
  • Real Time Reporting - Reports/alerts provide valuable information to project managers or to actuate a response
  • Watchdog Software - Continuously monitors echosounder performance, sends notifications of system operational status, eliminates lock-ups and data loss due to down time
  • Rotator Integration - Programmable, automated scanning to increase sampling area and ensure accurate transducer positioning
  • Fully Autonomous - Long-term assessment of marine life abundance, behavior and migratory routes

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To request information about BioSonics Hydroacoustic Products and Services, please provide your contact information.

 Fish and Marine Life
 Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
 Bottom Classification and Bathymetry
 Automated Monitoring Systems
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