NMFS Offshore Wind Fisheries Survey Permitting Guidance and Protected Species Risk Reduction BMPs
On behalf of a team of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) staff, two documents were developed relative to offshore wind, protected species, and fisheries issues.
Additional information and helpful resources are also available on the Offshore Wind Technical Guidance webpage.
NOAA Fisheries Frequently Asked Questions - Offshore Wind and Whales
Frequently asked questions about interactions between offshore wind energy projects and whales on the East Coast can be found here.
Draft Proposed Guidelines for Providing Information on Lighting and Marking of Structures Supporting Renewable Energy Development (BOEM, 2019)
In October 2019, BOEM released draft guidelines for lighting and marking structures on offshore wind energy projects, intended as recommendations for lessees to include as part of their Site Assessment Plan (SAP) and Construction and Operations Plan (COP). One of the aims of this guidance is to not cause undue harm or damage to natural resources, including wildlife. Public comment periods runs until Nov 25, 2019. Learn More; Download draft guidelines
National Offshore Wind Strategy (DOE and BOEM, 2016)
BOEM and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly produced a national strategy to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind energy in the United States. Download here
BOEM Renewable Energy Program
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to issue leases for renewable energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM’s renewable energy program consists of four phases: 1) planning, 2) leasing, 3) site assessment, and 4) construction and operations. Learn more about BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program and guidance on the process of acquiring offshore wind commercial leases.
BOEM has seen very strong interest in offshore renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf and is working closely with several states regarding offshore energy development and is in the process of coordinating federal-state task forces in certain coastal states. A summary of the status of activity in the different states can be found here.
BOEM also funds and manages scientific research to inform decision-making for renewable energy projects, including studies on birds, bats, fishes, fisheries, marine mammals, other protected species, and environmental monitoring. Learn more about completed studies.
Planning and Roadmaps
MARCO Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal; List of Current Agency Actions & Public Comment Opportunites
The Portal maintains a listing of informational resources for current and recent government agency actions related to ocean planning in the region. When available, listings will provide links for Federal Register announcements and agency websites with more information, the date range for public comments, and map data available on the Portal or external sites.
National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium Research and Development Roadmap Version 2.0 (R&D Consortium, 2019)
In October 2019, the National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium (R&D Consortium) released Version 2.0 of their Research and Development Roadmap, a technical guidance document to help advance offshore wind technology and drive wind innovation in the U.S. offshore wind industry. It is regularly revised to incorporate stakeholder feedback and adapt to changes in the offshore wind market Learn More; Download roadmap
Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan (Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body, 2016)
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan promotes ocean ecosystem health and sustainable ocean use and describes a series of collaborative actions and best practices related to the use of data, interjurisdictional coordination, and stakeholder engagement to help guide federal, state, tribal and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council activities. Download here
The New York Bight Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Data Synthesis Workshop (WCS, 2021)
In October 2020, The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), with support from NYSERDA, held a workshop that brought together local, state, and regional research and government organizations to explore opportunities for coordinated and optimal PAM research priorities for the New York Bight (NYB) and mid-Atlantic region, with a focus on marine mammals. The discussions focused on: 1) outlining and establishing commonalities in current NYB PAM data resources and identifying opportunities for collaboration and data synthesis; 2) exploring the importance of data collection and analysis standardization across projects; and 3) identifying PAM research priorities and opportunities to collaborate moving forward, both within the NYB, as well as across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Citation: [WCS] Wildlife Conservation Society. 2021. New York Bight Passive Acoustic Monitoring Data Synthesis Workshop (October 2020) Summary Report. Prepared for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). March 2021. Download report
Potential Impacts to Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles from Offshore Wind: Research Framework Workshop (MassCEC and BOEM, 2018)
In May 2018, The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, BOEM, and the New England Aquarium held a workshop to inform the development of a scientific research framework to guide studies of impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles in relation to offshore wind energy development, with a focus on baleen whales and sea turtles. Download research framework document
Best Management Practices Workshop for Atlantic Offshore Wind Facilities & Protected Species (BOEM, 2018)
The BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs held a public workshop from March 7-9 2017 to inform best management practices for avoiding, reducing, and monitoring impacts to marine protected species from the development of offshore wind on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. This workshop aimed to 1) increase understanding of the science and regulations for protecting marine species from the effects of offshore wind, 2) understand stakeholder perspectives on protected species mitigation and monitoring, and 3) identify and discuss best management practices to avoid and minimize the effects of offshore wind development on protected species. Visit workshop page
National Offshore Wind Strategy (DOE and BOEM, 2016)
Tethys is a repository for thousands of journal articles, reports, conference papers, theses, and presentations pertinent to the environmental effects of wind energy. Documents can be easily searched and filtered in the Knowledge Base, a smart and searchable table. View Tethys Knowledge Base
The Tethys Events Calendar highlights key events from around the world related to the wind energy industry, including conferences, workshops, webinars, and more. View Events Calendar
Photo credits: Short-beaked common dolphins © Anthony Pierce