As a WA State social purpose corporation, Beam Reach is focused on catalyzing marine research and education about the oceans, bioacoustics, and sustainability. Our geographic scope is Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, the core summertime habitat of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). The mission of Beam Reach is to help recover endangered iconic marine species of the Pacific Northwest, including the SRKWs and the salmon on which they feed.

NOAA's SRKW recovery plan and Governor Inslee's SRKW Task Force identify three main threats to SRKW recovery: prey, pollutants, and vessel interactions. Beam Reach is focused on vessel interactions, with a concentration on reducing underwater noise from commercial ships, minimizing impacts from boats (both noise and physical interference), and oil-spill prevention and response.

Currently, our research focuses on the acoustics and biology (bioacoustics) of SRKWs and underwater anthropogenic noise pollution. We have documented the ...
As a WA State social purpose corporation, Beam Reach is focused on catalyzing marine research and education about the oceans, bioacoustics, and sustainability. Our geographic scope is Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, the core summertime habitat of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). The mission of Beam Reach is to help recover endangered iconic marine species of the Pacific Northwest, including the SRKWs and the salmon on which they feed.

NOAA's SRKW recovery plan and Governor Inslee's SRKW Task Force identify three main threats to SRKW recovery: prey, pollutants, and vessel interactions. Beam Reach is focused on vessel interactions, with a concentration on reducing underwater noise from commercial ships, minimizing impacts from boats (both noise and physical interference), and oil-spill prevention and response.

Currently, our research focuses on the acoustics and biology (bioacoustics) of SRKWs and underwater anthropogenic noise pollution. We have documented the nature of ship noise in SRKW habitat (Veirs et al., 2016; in review) and in 2019 are both gathering data and developing models about boat traffic and noise in the San Juan Islands with collaborators in CA, WA, & BC.

Our main educational efforts center on coordinating Orcasound, a hydrophone network and open-source software project. In 2017-2019, this has involved: re-organizing 12 NGO partners in Washington; Kickstarter-funded development of a web app that makes it easy to listen for whales on any device/OS/browser in real-time; and engaging 10+ "hackathons" in Seattle and at Microsoft to improve the web app. Recent innovations are enabling listeners to take conservation action as they listen to a live "concert" and developing machine learning algorithms to detect orca sounds in real-time.

In 2020+, our plan is to promulgate a cost-effective combination of DIY hardware and open-source software, expanding Orcasound both geographically (to reach the endpoints of the SRKW in northern CA and central British Columbia) and to new species and applications. We expect the infrastructure built for SRKWs to support new studies of other soniferous species in the Salish Sea, including humpback whales, harbor porpoise, harbor seals, & fish. We also intend to leverage the infrastructure to quantify vessel noise impacts at each hydrophone location, ultimately characterizing received noise statistics for the commercial ship sector & mitigating boat impacts in general.
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Investors

Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator
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Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator Join us in growing the blue economy - #BuildBackBlue

Employees

Scott Veirs
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Scott Veirs CEO I'm an oceanographer who studies how marine life uses sound and is impacted by underwater noise. I also enjoy teaching & tech.
val veirs
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val veirs Engineer

Recommendations

I would like to add my recommendation for Beam Reach to F6S. Beam Reach has been a leader in the underwater noise efforts in the Salish Sea for years. Beam Reach provided the first large scale vessel underwater noise monitoring program and has also mobilized a citizen science effort. These programs have paved the way for our science programs north of the border, and indeed the scientists at Beam Reach have been instrumental in helping develop the monitoring and mitigation programs in the Canadian portion of the Salish Sea. Given the severe and concurrent stressors facing the Southern Resident Killer Whales, Chinook Salmon and other species at risk in the Salish Sea it is imperative that mitigation efforts be implemented as quickly as possible to save these populations. The fastest way to reduce some of the stress is via reductions in underwater noise. Beam Reach is crucial to the international effort to study the underwater noise impact and to devise ways to mitigate it.
Dr. T. Dakin

I am writing to recommend BeamReach for the Innovation Accelerator program. As you know, underwater noise has become a major conservation issue for the Salish Sea, given the coincidence of vulnerable wildlife, including the Southern Resident orca, and the substantial maritime traffic that sustains the region’s economy. In this, BeamReach has been a pioneer. Not only were they among the first research organizations to begin using acoustics to monitor marine habitat in the Salish Sea, but they had the vision to measure and analyze underwater noise from commercial ships when few in the world were attempting it. They did so with technical rigor and at remarkably low cost, and their findings have had a substantial influence on policy development in the field. Scott and Val Veirs bring strong multidisciplinary expertise as well as a conservation mindset to this important issue, and they are highly innovative. The Accelerator program seems like an excellent match for their work.

Orca Network has partnered with Beam Reach for many years, working together on the Salish Sea Hydrophone Project, data collection of whale Sightings, and developing apps to help collect sightings and "hearings" of orcas and other whales.

We have also partnered in advocating for quieter oceans for the whales, and working toward the protection and recovery of endangered Southern Resident orcas.

We highly recommend the work Scott Veirs and his team at Beam Reach does to network with the broader research community, agencies, and organizations to work together on these issues. Scott's technical abilities have helped us install our first hydrophone on Whidbey Island, and he designed and installed our popular Ocean Listening Booth in our Langley Whale Center.

Scott's organizational abilities and personal skills enable him to network with a broad range of people, bringing them in to work together to help Southern Resident orcas and other whales.