Mid-Atlantic Baseline Studies Project
The environmentally responsible development of offshore wind energy along the Eastern Seaboard has become a priority in the United States. More than 45,000 wind turbines currently operate across the country. However, wind turbines have yet to be installed off U.S. coasts. The siting of marine wind energy development hinges, in part, on a better understanding of the extent of direct and indirect environmental impacts. In early 2012, the BRI began a three-year project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to provide essential baseline information on bird, marine mammal, and sea turtle distributions and habitat use on a regional scale in federal waters off the mid-Atlantic coast. BRI’s team of collaborators for the Mid-Atlantic Baseline Studies Project includes researchers from federal and state agencies, nonprofits, academia, and private companies.
Recognizing this opportunity, the State of Maryland is funding an extension of these survey efforts in 2013-14. Click here for more information on the Maryland Offshore Wildlife Studies.
- Conduct two years of boat surveys and high-definition aerial video surveys to obtain data on bird, sea turtle, and marine mammal distributions and densities, and to obtain environmental covariate data.
- Compare aerial and boat survey data, and publish results to establish the validity of high definition aerial surveys as a survey method for offshore development in U.S. waters.
- Conduct satellite tracking studies of focal bird species (northern gannets, surf scoters, red-throated loons, and peregrine falcons) to provide information on animal movements and site fidelity.
- Conduct nocturnal acoustic migration monitoring and NEXRAD (next generation radar) data analysis to understand more about avian migration offshore.
- Use the data from this study and the Northwest Atlantic Seabird Database to develop a large database of mid-Atlantic marine wildlife survey and movement data.
- Model data within a hierarchical framework, a statistical method for understanding factors that influence species distributions and relative abundance.
- Disseminate project results to stakeholders and regulators through publicly accessible technical and summary reports, geospatial map layers, scientific manuscripts, and other outreach and communication efforts.
Wildlife and Renewable Energy Program Director
Biodiversity Research Institute
Evan Adams (BRI Migratory Bird Program), David Evers (BRI Executive Director), Beth Gardner (North Carolina State University), Richard Veit (City University of New York), Ari Friedlaender and David Johnston (Duke University Marine Laboratory), Iain Stenhouse (BRI Marine Bird Program)
BRI Science Staff:
Andrew Gilbert (Data Management); Wing Goodale (Deputy Director); Lucas Savoy and Dustin Meattey (Waterfowl Program); Jim Paruk, Carrie Osborne, and Mike Chickering (Loon Program); Chris DeSorbo and Rick Gray (Raptor Program)
Tim Bowman (USFWS Sea Duck Joint Venture), Scott Johnston (USFWS Migratory Bird Program), Scott Kraus (New England Aquarium), William Montevecchi (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Allan O’Connell (U.S. Geological Survey), Jay Osenkowski (Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management), Sean Todd (College of the Atlantic), HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - Office of Energy, Efficiency and Renewable Energy