Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2012

Abstract

Offshore renewable energy developments (OREDs) are projected to become common in the United States over the next two decades. There are both a need and an opportunity to guide efforts to identify and track impacts to the marine ecosystem resulting from these installations. A monitoring framework and standardized protocols that can be applied to multiple types of ORED would streamline scientific study, management, and permitting at these sites. We propose an adaptive and reactive framework based on indicators of the likely changes to the marine ecosystem due to ORED. We developed decision trees to identify suites of impacts at two scales (demonstration and commercial) depending on energy (wind, tidal, and wave), structure (e.g., turbine), and foundation type (e.g., monopile). Impacts were categorized by ecosystem component (benthic habitat and resources, fish and fisheries, avian species, marine mammals, and sea turtles) and monitoring objectives were developed for each. We present a case study at a commercial-scale wind farm and develop a monitoring plan for this development that addresses both local and national environmental concerns. In addition, framework has provided a starting point for identifying global research needs and objectives for understanding of the potential effects of ORED on the marine environment.

Comment

Kristopher Winiarski is from the Department of Natural Resources Science. Emily J. Shumchenia and Malia Schwartz are from the Graduate School of Oceanography. Sarah Smith, Jennifer McCann and Michelle Carnevale are from the Coastal Resource Center. Malcolm Spauling is from the Department of Ocean Engineering.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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