The development, implementation, and testing of a stereo-optical imaging system suitable for environmental monitoring of a tidal turbine is described. This monitoring system is intended to provide real-time stereographic imagery in the near-field (<10 m ) of tidal turbines proposed for deployment in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington. Postdeployment observations will provide the necessary information about the frequency and type of interactions between marine animals and the turbine. A method for optimizing the stereo camera arrangement is given, along with a quantitative assessment of the system’s ability to measure and track targets in three-dimensional space. Optical camera effectiveness is qualitatively evaluated under realistic field conditions to determine the range within which detection, discrimination, and classification of targets is possible. These field evaluations inform optimal system placement relative to the turbine rotor. Tests suggest that the stereographic cameras will likely be able to discriminate and classify targets at ranges up to 3.5 m and detect targets at ranges up to, and potentially beyond, 4.5 m. Future system testing will include the use of an imaging sonar (“acoustical camera”) to evaluate behavioral disturbances associated with artificial lighting.