- Published: 12 September 2022 12 September 2022
Empire Wind and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have announced the extension to 2028 of their agreement to monitor large whales in the lease area of Empire Wind, an offshore wind project located in the New York Bight off the southern coast of Long Island.
The new agreement ensures that data to protect wildlife in the New York Bight will be collected during the pre-construction, construction, and post-construction phases of the wind project. The acoustic monitoring agreement is between Empire Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), which invented and operates the buoys.
Two deployed moored acoustic monitoring buoys located in the New York Bight within Empire Wind lease area have already compiled more than 2,000 days of monitoring data and have detected more than 18,000 whale sounds in near real-time, including more than 2,600 detections this year alone. The two buoys use WHOI-developed near real-time passive acoustic monitoring (NRT PAM) technology that detects the distinct sounds of different whale species (there is also an archival recorded aspect as well). Data collected will result in new knowledge on whale occurrence and behaviour in and around the Empire Wind lease area. The sounds that are detected and recorded by the buoys to date came from four large whale species: fin, humpback, sei, and North Atlantic right whales. The most commonly detected whale sound was a low frequency downsweep, called a 20Hz song note, that is produced by fin whales. WCS began this monitoring in 2016 and Equinor began supporting it in 2019.