Oyster Bed Multibeam & Sidescan Sonar Surveys with Riverbed Seafloor Classification in Neuse River


US Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District Office and North Carolina Dept of Environment and Natural Resources


Oriental, NC


Hydrographic, Geophysical, GIS


Coupling advanced field technologies with seafloor characterization techniques, Geodynamics identified submerged oyster reef resources and mapped the vertical relief of these habitat features.


Coastal Carolina University


This high-resolution survey was a two phase effort to locate and quantify potential oyster reefs in the Neuse River Estuary by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District for future oyster rehabilitation efforts in the region. To first assess oyster reef locations, Phase 1 side-scan data was used to generate a series of both unsupervised and supervised classifications of the seafloor. The classification polygons identify locations that require further investigation with both remotely sensed data and ground truth information. Methods of classification used by multiple software packages were analyzed and compared. In Phase 2 of the project, Geodynamics revisited the sites of interest with multibeam sonar to generate Digital Elevation Models of the oyster reefs to assess spatial extent and general relief of the morphological features.

The side-scan and multibeam surveys of the Neuse River Estuary employed a Klein 3000 digital side-scan sonar and a Simrad EM3002 shallow water multibeam sonar system to collect spatially dense seafloor imagery and bathymetric data for the assessment oyster reef habitats. Positioning information was acquired using a Trimble 5700 Real-Time Kinematic GPS (RTK-GPS) receiver integrated with a Trimble DGPS beacon and the POS MV 320. To calculate “tidal” elevations we used a surveying method called Post-Processed Kinematic.