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Building on existing initiatives to study and assess impacts of offshore wind energy development on the North Atlantic right whale, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is fostering multiple federal and state partnerships that will inform and strengthen protections for this endangered species.
For more than a decade, BOEM has funded independent research studies and formed partnerships to better assess potential offshore wind energy development impacts on protected species. These studies collect broadscale baseline distribution, behavioral, and ecological data on protected species in general, as well as on North Atlantic right whales.
As offshore wind energy development expands in the Atlantic, BOEM is engaging with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a science and management strategy to protect and promote the recovery of North Atlantic right whales while responsibly developing offshore wind energy. The strategy will identify existing and needed collaborative research, mitigation requirements and regional-scale monitoring to help minimize impacts to this critically endangered species. BOEM expects to provide a draft strategy later this year for stakeholder input.
BOEM and NOAA are also working with partners to develop a regional passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) network to identify the larger scale movements and distribution of marine mammals, including the North Atlantic right whale. In addition, real-time PAM systems will be deployed to detect animals in the vicinity of construction operations and prompt site-specific mitigation measures designed to reduce the impacts of offshore wind energy projects on marine species.
The funding extension will allow time for regional partnerships to address this long-term data need and reinforces BOEM’s commitment to collaborate with the Regional Wildlife Science Entity to determine the best path forward for North Atlantic right whale research.
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