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University of Rhode Island helps develop national environmental monitoring tools for offshore renewable energy development
Any type of offshore development has the potential to impact the marine environment in some way. Unlike with oil platforms that have long been established in U.S. waters, there is much less certainty about how offshore renewable energy technologies such as wind and tidal power will affect the ecosystems in which they are developed.
Several federal entities collaborated to fund a National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) project to identify potential environmental effects that developers should monitor for, as well as techniques for how to do so.
Recognizing that each proposed development and each ecosystem is unique, the University of Rhode Island designed monitoring programs that can be tailored to each development project for both during development and post-construction. Researchers generated a "decision tree" to help guide regulators in designing monitoring requirements depending on the specifications of the project and its location.
Applied Science Associates, Inc., one of the project partners, also developed software that provides regulators with a tool to help analyze the cumulative environmental impacts of a proposed project. Regulators input the data they have on the distribution of natural resources or human activities (for instance, sea turtle and whale feeding areas, or fish habitat) in an area where a project is being proposed, and the software helps regulators compare and choose which site may potentially have less of an environmental impact.
These monitoring tools and techniques were completed and delivered to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees offshore renewable energy development, in late 2012, and are helping to inform the development of national standards for this emerging industry.
"Companies want to understand how to most efficiently and effectively meet BOEM's environmental data requirements. BOEM is now better positioned to answer that question," said Maureen Bornholdt, program manager for BOEM's Office of Renewable Energy Programs. "As a result of this project, BOEM is developing guidelines that clarify the information that BOEM and other federal agencies require to adequately address the impacts of offshore renewable energy projects to the environment."
To learn more about this project or to download the final report, visit http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/coast/nopp.html.
This project was funded by BOEM, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The University of Rhode Island, through its Graduate School of Oceanography, Department of Ocean Engineering, Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the College of Environmental and Life Sciences, led the project. The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council and Rhode Island-based Applied Science Associates, Inc. served as major partners for this effort. NOPP is a collaboration of federal agencies to provide leadership and coordination of national oceanographic research and education initiatives.
Scott Lindell, Director of Scientific Aquaculture Laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, and Dr. Marta Gomez-Chiarri, University of Rhode Island, will take a look at how closed water regulations may limit shellfish growth for specific species and ways to manage the impact of diseases on shellfish populations in the state. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served.
This series is supported by Rhode Island Sea Grant, the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, and the URI Coastal Institute. For more information on the series, see http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/news/coastalstate2013.html.
A new short film, Protecting Our Oceans Through Marine Spatial Planning, focuses on protecting ocean environments so they remain healthy and able to support the food, job, transportation and energy needs of economies worldwide. It is the final installation of a four-part series that explores ocean planning with practitioners from around the world. Visit http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzeMcfxdGwx1Au-uujm_M5AiKy9ZvQDwA to view the film and its predecessors on other aspects of marine spatial planning. FULL RELEASE.
41°N, the magazine of Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island, is seeking freelance writers interested in contributing feature articles, briefs, book reviews, and more to "Rhode Island's Ocean and Coastal Magazine." Contributor guidelines are available here. For specific inquiries, please contact Monica Allard Cox, managing editor, at email@example.com or (401) 874-6937.
Rhode Island Sea Grant is pleased to announce that Alan Desbonnet has been named interim director upon the retirement of Barry Costa-Pierce.
Desbonnet worked in the coastal management extension program from 1989–2002, when he became program program manager. In 2007, he became assistant director.
He recently authored the Ecology chapter for the Ocean Special Area Management Plan for Rhode Island. He has also edited two books: Urban Aquaculture (CABI Publishing) and Science for Ecosystem-based Management—Narragansett Bay in the 21st Century (Springer).
Previously, Desbonnet worked at the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium for three years as an aquarist and researcher, and for five years in the aquarium's education and outreach division, writing and teaching college- and high school-level classes.
He currently writes a monthly "science for the fisherman" column for On The Water magazine, and since 1992 has taught ecology as an adjunct at Eastern Connecticut State University. Desbonnet serves on the Stonington Shellfish Commission and on the Board of Trustees for the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.
Rhode Island Sea Grant e-Newsletter
Rhode Island Sea Grant's e-newsletter offers monthly updates on our projects, staff, and announcements of funding opportunities, upcoming events, and new publications. To read the e-newsletter on-line, click here. To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not share your e-mail address.
41°N is a magazine that is produced twice a year in partnership between Rhode Island Sea Grant and the URI Coastal Institute. This publication serves not only to keep readers informed of the programs' activities and research findings but to bring them science-based perspectives on critical issues such as climate change. The name 41°N is taken from the degree of latitude at which Rhode Island is located, but it also represents the concept that many of these issues are of concern around the world. To read 41°N online, visit seagrant.gso.uri.edu/41N. To receive 41°N by mail, contact Rhode Island Sea Grant at (401) 874-6800 or email@example.com.