The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Office of Renewable Energy Programs would like to inform you about new survey guidelines and two related environmental studies that were recently started.
- Survey Guidelines. Today BOEM posted guidelines for providing survey information regarding fish in proposed renewable energy project areas on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (see http://www.boem.gov/Regulatory-Development-Policy-and-Guidelines/). BOEM requires such information to adequately address potential impacts of offshore renewable energy projects on the environment. These guidelines will assist lease applicants in acquiring the information necessary for BOEM to conduct technical and environmental reviews of their plan(s). These guidelines will be updated periodically, as new information or methodologies become available. We would like to thank the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their review and input on these guidelines.
- Studies. BOEM has also recently begun two studies that use several of the protocols described in the new guidelines. The first study is an inter-agency agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that will use optical imagery (video and photographic) and acoustic imagery to document benthic habitat in several Atlantic wind energy areas. The second is a lobster trap study in the northern portion of Rhode Island/Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. These BOEM studies, along with studies conducted by developers, will help inform the baseline fish and fish habitat information that BOEM will use in its environmental impact assessments for offshore renewable energy development.
If you have any questions regarding the guidelines or the new studies, please contact Brian Hooker at (703) 787-1634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.