Offshore and Nearshore Wind Facilities -- Seaduck Impacts
The impacts of near- and offshore "wind farms" are of growing concern in U.S. waters, the Great Lakes, and coastal areas as the Army Corps of Engineers currently has pending applications for more than 1,000 wind turbines in East Coast waters alone. Impacts range from direct mortality to habitat fragmentation and seaduck disturbance. This panel will review the status of European offshore studies, assess findings as they relate to potential impacts in U.S. waters, review trust agency responsibilities, discuss options for sharing information, and review partnerships with industry and their consultants.
Workshop Powerpoint Presentations on Wind Turbines (in PDF format)
Offshore and Nearshore Wind
Development and Impacts to
Sea Ducks and Other
Waterbirds (.1MB PDF)
Information needs (.1MB PDF)
Atlantic Waterbird Use of Offshore Shoals and Survey Needs to Evaluate Wind Energy Development (3.4MB PDF)
Migration and Collision Avoidance of Eiders at Northstar Island, Alaska (1.1MB PDF)
A Special Panel and Workshop Presentations
Albert M. Manville, II, Ph.D.
Abstract: Wind energy development is the fastest growing energy-producing initiative both stateside and worldwide. Exponential growth of wind energy is expected to continue, especially as efforts expand to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Europe is presently far ahead of the United States in developing wind, both onshore and off. Currently at least 600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity are installed worldwide, virtually all of it off the European coast in shallow waters. While the U.S. has yet to develop any offshore facilities, many projects have been proposed, with applications previously submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers (formerly the lead agency responsible for permitting offshore wind in U.S. Federal waters, now under the authority of the Minerals Management Service). Two East Coast offshore projects have gained close attention. 1) Cape Wind Associates proposes to install 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 2) The Long Island Power Authority et al. (FPL Energy) proposes to install 40 turbines off of Jones Beach, New York. Other projects are being proposed, including in the Great Lakes. While European offshore wind development is currently sited in shallow waters (< 20 m in depth), a framework to develop deep-water offshore wind is being unveiled that may allow wind turbines to be installed and operated in deep ocean and Great Lakes waters in the relatively near future.
The challenge of wind development to trust agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to ensure that installation and operation of wind facilities are conducted in environmentally responsible ways, and that impacts to species and their habitats are ideally avoided or at least minimized. The Service endorses wind energy development as a renewable resource, strongly encouraging that siting and operation be conducted in the most bird- and bat-friendly ways – both for land-based and offshore wind energy. The presentations in this workshop by an esteemed panel of experts will address the knowledge, needs, concerns, and gaps regarding offshore wind impacts to “trust resources” and their habitats. Some of the key issues to be discussed include: collision risk and habitat disturbance; clumped sea duck distribution, productive offshore wind banks, and the importance of shoals; modeling habitats in patchy marine environments; strategic problems, tools available to solve them, gaps, and gaping holes; the Environmental Impact Assessment process and United Kingdom regulations; identifying key species at risk, assessing local effects on these species, and assessing impacts at the population level; predicting cumulative impacts; tools available for assessment (e.g. radars, aerial surveys, infrared, satellite and VHF telemetry); use of a “hazard flow chart;” impacts of light on migrating sea ducks in the Arctic; and shipboard and aerial surveys – when to use them. The PowerPoint presentations from each panel member follow.
Atlantic Flyway Council
Website designed and maintained by Edward J.R. Lohnes