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Collision and Displacement Vulnerability Among Marine Birds of the California Current System Associated with Offshore Wind Energy Infrastructure

Released: 2016
Kelsey, E., J.J. Felis, D.M. Pereksta, J. Adams. 2016. Collision and Displacement Vulnerability Among Marine Birds of the California Current System Associated With Offshore Wind Energy Infrastructure. 9th California Islands Symposium, Ventura, CA, 3-7 October 2016.

Capitalizing on open areas with persistent winds, offshore wind-energy infrastructure (OWEI) has the potential to produce a significant proportion of the power necessary to reach the United States’ renewable energy needs. Marine birds are vulnerable to collision with and displacement by OWEI. We created a comprehensive database of marine bird vulnerability to OWEI in the California Current System (CCS). Using available information on population size, demography, life history, flight heights, and avoidance behavior for 62 seabird and 19 marine water bird species that occur in the CCS; we generated three vulnerability values: Population Vulnerability, Collision Vulnerability, and Displacement Vulnerability. Population Vulnerability was applied to Collision and Displacement Vulnerability as a scaling factor to generate two comprehensive indices: Population Collision Vulnerability (PCV) and Population Displacement Vulnerability (PDV). Pelicans, terns, gulls, cormorants, and Ashy Storm-Petrel had the greatest PCV scores. Alcids, terns, loons, and Ashy Storm-Petrel had the greatest PDV scores. Using the most recent aerial at-sea survey data (U.S. Geological Survey and Humboldt State University 1999 – 2002), we mapped bird densities within the southern CCS (Morro Bay to the California-Mexico border) as a function of their cumulative PCV and PDV scores to create a PCV distribution and PDV distribution for the suite of species in the southern CCS.  The PCV distribution and PDV distribution for these species provides estimates of marine bird vulnerability levels in locations where OWEI construction is being considered, including the recent Trident Winds LLC lease request off Morro Bay, California.  PCV and PDV distribution estimates can be used by BOEM and other resource managers to help inform siting decisions that can impact seabird conservation. 

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

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