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Main Hawaiian Island Seabird Studies to Enable Comprehensive Evaluation of Owei Site Selection, Species Vulnerability, and Conservation Action

Released: 2017
Citation:
Kelsey, E.C., J.J. Felis, M. Czapanskiy, D.M. Pereksta, J. Adams. 2017. Main Hawaiian Island Seabird Studies to Enable Comprehensive Evaluation of Owei Site Selection, Species Vulnerability, and Conservation Action. Pacific Seabird Group 44th Annual Meeting, Tacoma, WA. 22-25 February 2017.

Hawaiʻi state alternative energy policy mandates and federal interest in developing renewable energy resources have prompted three unsolicited lease requests for offshore wind energy infrastructure (OWEI): AW Hawaiʻi Wind’s Oʻahu Northwest and South Projects and Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind’s South Coast of O’ahu Project. Each project proposes an offshore wind power facility each with a capacity to generate approximately 400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy by installing about 50 floating, 8-10 MW wind turbines. The industry’s intent and capacity to develop these resources in the future, highlights the need for additional ocean- and island-based environmental assessments to inform planning. USGS and collaborators have been working since 2006 to collect information regarding the distribution and movements at sea among seabirds breeding throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). Recent efforts to quantify relative vulnerability among seabirds to offshore wind energy infrastructure in the CCS provide a framework for a similar approach in Hawaiʻi. To enable this, and to generate requisite information for evaluating OWEI siting, additional threats to seabirds, and potential future mitigation strategies—we describe several projects that will increase knowledge and capacity for better understanding seabird populations both on land and at sea: 1.) an evaluation of collision and displacement vulnerability for Hawaiian seabirds, 2.) revised assessments of colony distribution, abundance, and nesting habitat throughout the MHI, 3.) hi-resolution, sensor enabled measures of flight behavior, and 4.) enhanced, colony-based predicted-distributions of breeding seabirds at sea.


This product is associated with the following project:
Main Hawaiian Islands Seabird Tracking Study

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