An adaptive framework for selecting environmental monitoring protocols to support ocean renewable energy development

ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:450685. doi: 10.1100/2012/450685. Epub 2012 Dec 23.

Abstract

Offshore renewable energy developments (OREDs) are projected to become common in the United States over the next two decades. There are both a need and an opportunity to guide efforts to identify and track impacts to the marine ecosystem resulting from these installations. A monitoring framework and standardized protocols that can be applied to multiple types of ORED would streamline scientific study, management, and permitting at these sites. We propose an adaptive and reactive framework based on indicators of the likely changes to the marine ecosystem due to ORED. We developed decision trees to identify suites of impacts at two scales (demonstration and commercial) depending on energy (wind, tidal, and wave), structure (e.g., turbine), and foundation type (e.g., monopile). Impacts were categorized by ecosystem component (benthic habitat and resources, fish and fisheries, avian species, marine mammals, and sea turtles) and monitoring objectives were developed for each. We present a case study at a commercial-scale wind farm and develop a monitoring plan for this development that addresses both local and national environmental concerns. In addition, framework has provided a starting point for identifying global research needs and objectives for understanding of the potential effects of ORED on the marine environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Decision Trees*
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Oceans and Seas*
  • Renewable Energy*
  • United States
  • Wind*