Bird and Bat Scientific Research Framework
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is funding the development of a scientific research framework to guide the long-term study of potential impacts to birds and bats from offshore wind energy development in the eastern United States. This collaborative effort will include input from a range of stakeholders, including scientists, environmental nonprofits, regulators, and offshore wind energy developers.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently funded an effort to develop a scientific research framework for understanding the effects of offshore wind energy development on protected species (e.g., marine mammals and sea turtles) offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In May of 2019, a group of stakeholders representing industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and state and federal agencies recognized the utility of this framework for guiding future funding and research, and identified the need for a similar research framework focused on birds and bats. NYSERDA committed to supporting the development of a bird and bat research framework under the auspices of the Environmental Technical Working Group (E-TWG).
The scientific research framework will guide the long-term study of potential impacts to birds and bats from offshore wind energy construction and operations in the eastern United States. The goal of this framework is to help ensure that research and monitoring efforts are focused on key priorities and are appropriately designed to improve the state of knowledge. Specific objectives include:
• Identify key questions related to impacts to birds and bats associated with offshore wind construction and
operations (specifically for the east coast of the United States from Massachusetts to North Carolina),
• Develop testable hypotheses to answer key questions, including methodological considerations (taxonomic focus,
data collection, statistical power), and
• Identify data gaps and technological deficiencies that may inhibit our ability to answer these questions.
NYSERDA is convening a working meeting in March 2020 to inform the development of the scientific research framework. The workshop planning committee includes representatives from NYSERDA, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Audubon New York, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Biodiversity Research Institute.
The first two days of the workshop will include invited experts from a range of sectors, including scientists, environmental nonprofits, regulators, and offshore wind energy developers. The third day of the workshop will include a smaller group of subject matter experts, who will use input received during the first two days of the meeting to start developing the research framework document. A workshop agenda will be posted here when it has been finalized.
Subject matter experts from the last day of the workshop, as well as members of the planning committee, will continue drafting the document in the latter part of 2020.
Photo credits: Dogfish shark © Boris Pamikov - shutterstock; Northern gannet © Hanson Lu; Bats © Clement Falize