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ASSESSING THE VULNERABILITY OF MARINE BIRDS TO WIND ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT

Released: 2016
Citation:
Kelsey, EC, JJ Felis, DM Pereksta, J Adams. 2016. ASSESSING THE VULNERABILITY OF MARINE BIRDS TO WIND ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT. 43rd Annual Meeting Pacific Seabird Group, Oahu HI. 10-13 February 2016

Offshore wind power is considered a viable renewable energy source for the United States west coast. With the development of floating, deep-water wind energy infrastructure, wind energy production in >50m waters off the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii is now a possibility. The implementation of deep-water wind energy installations will affect marine birds, which risk collision with and displacement by offshore wind energy infrastructure. We used published data related to natural history, demography, and behavior (flight heights, flight styles, and avoidance behavior) to quantify collision and displacement vulnerabilities for 62 seabird and 17 marine water bird species. Our analysis was based on similar assessments quantifying marine bird vulnerability to offshore wind facilities in the North Sea, UK, and western Atlantic and is the first such assessment for the eastern North Pacific region. Pelicans, cormorants, gulls, terns, and jaegers have the greatest risk of collision with offshore wind energy infrastructure due to low avoidance and a greater percentage of time flying at the height of turbine blades. Alcids, terns, grebes, and loons have the greatest risk of displacement by offshore wind energy infrastructure due to relatively high sensitivity to disturbance and low habitat flexibility. To further address the range of factors that could influence a species’ risk within the CCS and to provide a working example, we combine our vulnerability assessment results with recent marine bird at-sea distribution and abundance data to evaluate the risk of offshore renewable energy site locations in the northern CCS.


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

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