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ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF OFFSHORE WIND FARMS ON SEABIRDS IN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT SYSTEM

Released: 2015
Citation:
Kelsey, EC, DM Pereksta, J Adams. 2015. ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF OFFSHORE WIND FARMS ON SEABIRDS IN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT SYSTEM. Pacific Seabird Group, 42nd Annual Meeting, 18-21 February 2015, San Jose, CA. [Poster Presentation]

Offshore wind power is considered a viable alternative energy source for the United States west coast. The implementation of offshore wind energy infrastructure will affect the marine environment, including marine bird life. Marine birds risk collision with and displacement by offshore wind energy infrastructure. Based on similar assessments quantifying marine bird vulnerability to offshore wind facilities in the North Sea, UK, and western Atlantic, we are creating a comprehensive index of seabird vulnerability to offshore wind farms in the California Current System (CCS). Using published data on natural history and demography, flight heights and flight styles, and avoidance behavior observed at existing offshore wind power sites; we quantified collision and displacement risk for 62 seabird and 17 marine water bird species in the CCS. Pelicans, cormorants, and terns have the greatest collision risk due to low avoidance rates and a high percentage of time flying at the height of turbine blades. Alcids, terns, and loons have the greatest risk of displacement by offshore wind power infrastructure due to their high disturbance sensitivity and low habitat flexibility. The levels of risk generated using this database can readily be applied to areas in the CCS where offshore renewable energy development is being considered and can be used to help inform decisions that will impact seabird conservation.



This product is associated with the following project:
Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

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