USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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The Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA) is an aerial survey project of seabird and marine mammal biodiversity and ocean habitats spanning northern California, Oregon and southern Washington coasts.

Humpback whale with mesopredators --Photographer: USGS


The USGS Western Ecological Research Center is conducting new seabird and marine mammal surveys for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region to inform future alternative energy planning, development, and management in the northern California Current System (CCS).

Named the Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA), the primary survey area extends from Fort Bragg, California to Grays Harbor in Washington state.

This region supports abundant populations of seabirds and marine mammals, but comprehensive, multi-seasonal aerial surveys were conducted two decades ago. Marine spatial planning, including potential site selection for offshore energy development, requires the description and quantification of recent species-specific and community patterns in distribution.

PaCSEA will provide this updated scientific data to federal resource managers. Aircraft surveys conduct seabird and mammal counts together with oceanographic remote sensing -- including aerial hyperspectral radiometry (ocean color) and pyrometry (sea surface temperature) -- to record the biodiversity and ocean habitat features throughout this important and ecologically productive region off the Pacific Northwest coast.



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