Protection site

BOEM strengthens efforts to protect right whales

Building on existing initiatives to study and assess the impacts of offshore wind energy development on North Atlantic right whales, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) encourages multiple federal and that will inform and strengthen protections for this endangered species.

As offshore wind energy development expands in the Atlantic, BOEM is collaborating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a science and management strategy to protect and promote the recovery of Atlantic right whales. North Atlantic while responsibly developing offshore wind energy. The strategy aims to identify existing and needed collaborative research, mitigation requirements and regional-scale monitoring to help minimize impacts on this critically endangered species. BOEM plans to provide a draft strategy later this year for stakeholder feedback.

BOEM and NOAA are also working with partners to develop a regional Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) network to identify the movements and larger-scale distribution of marine mammals, including the North Atlantic right whale. In addition, real-time PAM systems will be deployed to detect animals near construction operations and expedite site-specific mitigation measures designed to reduce the impacts of offshore wind energy projects on marine species.

In addition, BOEM is working with NOAA Fisheries on a Federal Survey Mitigation Implementation Strategy that will outline steps to limit the impact of offshore wind energy development on the survey activities of NOAA Fisheries, including those concerning North Atlantic right whales.

“BOEM is deeply committed to ensuring the responsible development of offshore wind energy and protecting marine species, such as the North Atlantic right whale. Ongoing collaboration with our federal and non-federal partners is critical to our success in both endeavours,”
said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “These partnerships embody the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis and preserving our oceans for future generations.”

BOEM also collaborates on several other research initiatives related to the North Atlantic right whale and the development of offshore wind energy. For more than seven years, BOEM has partnered with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to aerial surveys of right whales around and in designated wind energy areas off Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In response to stakeholder requests, BOEM, MassCEC and other state, federal and private funders recently agreed to help fund an additional year of targeted aerial surveys to augment the existing survey suite. Throughout 2022, when researchers observe groups of North Atlantic right whales during aerial surveys, they will also conduct separate targeted and directed surveys of identified aggregations to improve BOEM’s understanding of whale behavior. whales.

The extension of funding should allow time for regional partnerships to address this long-term data need and reinforce BOEM’s commitment to work with the regional wildlife science entity to determine the best way forward for research. on the North Atlantic right whale.

This current survey effort includes funding from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Maine Community Foundation. Discussions are underway to secure additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. State funding for the surveys was facilitated by the regional wildlife science entity.