USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Providing scientific data on seabird ecology to inform project design and siting for federal offshore wind and wave energy projects.



    Sooty Shearwater --Photographer: Jonathan Felis/USGS
    Seabird vulnerability levels can be used to help inform marine renewable energy planning decisions that will impact seabird conservation.

    Beginning in 2014, the USGS, in collaboration with the BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), created a comprehensive database of marine bird vulnerability to potential offshore wind-energy infrastructure in the California Current System (CCS). Using published values 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 vulnerability for 62 seabird and 17 marine water bird species that occur in the CCS. 

    The levels of vulnerability 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 planning decisions that will impact seabird conservation.  A similar database of potential vulnerability of seabirds to offshore wind energy construction will also be constructed for Hawaiian marine bird species.

    Adams, J., Kelsey, E.C., Felis J.J., and Pereksta, D.M., 2016, Collision and displacement vulnerability among marine birds of the California Current System associated with offshore wind energy infrastructure: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1154, 116 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161154.

    Adams, J., Kelsey, E.C., Felis J.J., and Pereksta, D.M., 2016, Data for calculating population, collision and displacement vulnerability among marine birds of the California Current System associated with offshore wind energy infrastructure: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F79C6VJ0

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