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Anadromous fish species are an important part of the environmental ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest.  The lower parts of the Columbia and Snake Rivers have several hydropower facilities which migrating fish must pass through while traveling back to their spawning grounds.  Federal government regulations requires these hydropower facilities to provide an accurate count of fish as they pass through the structures.   In part, the fish counts are required to be pushed to publicly available websites for other agencies and anglers.  The effort has historically been tackled by staffing fish ladders with humans to count each fish as it passes.  Since fish pass at all periods of the day, this means a human must be present or video must be captured and processed at a later time to accurately count passing fish.

Anadromous is vital software that enables these hydropower facilities to comply with these requirements.  It is responsible for the counting of thousands of adult anadromous fish in the Columbia River Basin.   A cloud connected software, it is tried and tested at several hydropower facilities along the Snake and Columbia Basin river systems.  It is truly cutting edge as it interacts with specialized technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to also compress and transmit hours of video for quicker review without having to travel to remote locations.


Hecate developed Anadromous, a software program for counting fish, in conjunction with Four Peaks and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Anadromous allows fish counters to count fish live in a fish ladder, or via recorded video feed.

Anadromous is designed for the not-tech-savvy user. Instead of worrying about how the software works the users can focus on recognizing fish species such as salmon, steelhead, shad and lamprey. The software accommodates users in several ways:

  • Specialized keyboards allow for rapid counting of thousands of fish per day
  • Data is automatically synchronized with the cloud for reporting
  • Automatic data backup to external hard-drives for remote environments
Anadromous can reduce time spent counting of fish captured by video camera. Currently, each second of video must be reviewed by a counter during normal working hours in order to count fish. Instead, these video can be processed by specialized cameras from Boulder AI that use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to detect when fish are present in the video. This information is then uploaded to the cloud where it can be accessed by Anadromous from an operators office. Video of the ladder captured overnight, which would have taken hours to review, can now be reviewed in minutes AND without having to travel to a remote location. The technology is highly accurate at discerning fish from debris, it is still being developed to classify species of fish (e.g. Chinook vs. Coho).

Anadromous has been in daily use at over 15 ladders at several hydropower facilities since 2019.


For more information, please contact Hecate Software via e-mail at Brian LaMarche - brian.lamarche@hecate.com or by calling (817) 921-2879