FAQ of the year: Does BioBase EcoSound Map Sediment Depth?

Thanks to advances in physical, chemical and biological technologies and funding that are focused on reducing sedimentation or muck depth in waterways, many water resource practitioners are eager to determine how much sediment is in a waterway of interest and how much could be removed. As such, we frequently are asked: “Will BioBase tell you how deep the sediment is?”

As much as we would like to say unequivocally “Yes!,” and have an easy button solution, the reality is it’s not that straightforward.  Off-the-shelf Lowrance transducers are designed to track the water sediment interface, especially at the standard 200 khz broadband frequency.  This blog discusses bottom tracking in a little more detail.  BioBase EcoSound algorithms do evaluate the acoustic reflectivity of bottom signal and will create a relative bottom hardness output.  Bottom hardness generally correlates with sediment depth but the relationship is variable depending on the system and we recommend users calibrate their bottom hardness outputs in their local system of interest.  The better approach in our opinion is knowing how deep the pond of interest should be and then comparing that to what the current conditions are to arrive at sediment depth.

Model Sediment Depth Based on Knowledge of the Desired Condition
Because BioBase EcoSound can produce a near real-time high-precision picture of current bathymetry, basic knowledge of the baseline/”as built” or desirable bathymetric design can be used to infer sediment depth and create highly precise, professional quality maps.  The Central Arizona Project’s management of Arizona’s primary aqueduct is probably the most widely cited example of this process.  Our optional GIS Services can take your BioBase EcoSound map and pre-treatment or baseline map and create a custom sediment depth map. See below for some great examples used by other lake management service providers.

Simulating sediment depth subtracting BioBase EcoSound-assessed bathymetry from “As Built” bathymetric design in a home owner association pond in CA. Work completed by Waterwork Industries, Windsor CA (http://www.waterworksindustries.com/).  BioBase GIS Services conducted the analysis and created the custom map


Post Dredging Bathymetric Assessment conducted by Ecoresource Solutions, Inc., Arvada CO (http://www.ecology.services/).  Mapped created by BioBase GIS Services.
Post Dredging Bathymetric Assessment conducted by Ecoresource Solutions, Inc., Arvada CO (http://www.ecology.services/).  Mapped created by BioBase GIS Services.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how we can help you map sediment depth.

Author: biobasemaps

BioBase is a cloud platform for the automated mapping of aquatic habitats (lakes, rivers, ponds, coasts). Standard algorithms process sonar datafiles (EcoSound) and high resolution satellite imagery (EcoSat). Depth and vegetation maps and data reports are rapidly created and stored in a private cloud account for analysis, and sharing. This blog highlights a range of internal and external research, frequently asked questions, feature descriptions and highlights, tips and tricks, and photo galleries.

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