Bureau of Reclamation to Award $20,000 for New Fish Tracking Ideas

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The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking innovative fish tracking technologies in its first Prize Challenge Competition.

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking innovative fish tracking technologies in its first Prize Challenge Competition. The competition, which runs until August 26, will award a total of $20,000 in prize money for solutions that reduce costs and improve fish tracking methods.

“Discovering new concepts and technologies significantly improves our ability to monitor threatened and endangered fish species and their ecosystems,” said Commissioner Estevan López. “This search for new fish tracking methods gives us a way to collaborate with private industries and the public to find innovative and creative solutions to problems we all currently face.”

With many fish species swimming through our rivers and waterways, effective tracking methods are vital to monitoring ecosystem health and recovering threatened and endangered fish species. Current fish tracking methods rely on capturing and handling fish to implant or attach tags. The process of attaching tags is costly and complex, and can also stress fish.

While research communities have explored advancements to these technologies, Reclamation’s Prize Challenge Competition encourages breakthrough ideas by inviting innovative solutions from a national community.

Reliable, affordable detection and tracking provides vital information about how many fish are present, where and why mortality occurs, and where and why species thrive. This enables program managers to pursue targeted and more effective actions that can reduce mortality rates, improve habitat and increase survival rates. Addressing the need for improved technology will have practical applications for both federal, state and private industries.

“Reclamation’s science and engineering expertise is known throughout the world, but we can benefit from innovative ideas from individuals with varied specialties, backgrounds and industries,” said Science Advisor David Raff.

The Bureau of Reclamation collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to design the prize competition. Submitted solutions will be evaluated by a panel of judges composed of scientists, engineers and telemetry experts from the private sector, tribal nations, Reclamation and other collaborating federal agencies.

Reclamation recently partnered with U.S. Agency for International Development to host the Desal Prize Competition at its Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico. With a total of 68 applications from 29 countries, the competition has advanced desalination technologies for rural areas.

The winners of the first Prize Challenge Competition will be announced by November 9, 2015. To submit your ideas, please visit https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933646.

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Lauren Meredith
Bureau of Reclamation
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