The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has awarded Pandion Systems, Inc. $2.5 million to pioneer new technologies and methods for surveying wildlife along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf as part of a new offshore wind energy initiative.
Pandion will conduct two studies contributing to the body of scientific research needed for the U.S. to move forward in developing an environmentally responsible offshore renewable energy program.
"Many uncertainties surround the environmental impacts of offshore wind development,” said Caleb Gordon, a Pandion senior avian ecologist and project manager. “These studies will provide important ecological information to help fill in some of the unknowns.”
Pandion has assembled teams of researchers from academic institutions and technology development firms from around the globe to assist with the research.
Aerial High Definition Surveys for Seabirds, Marine Mammals, and Sea Turtles
One project will use manned and unmanned aircraft to gather high-definition, digital aerial images of birds, marine mammals, and sea turtles to support offshore wind facility siting and leasing. The study will consist of experimental flights and analysis to determine the best methdologies for conducting large-scale ocean wildlife surveys.
The results of these experiments will be used to develop a protocol for the U.S. government to conduct offshore wildlife surveys over the entire Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) (along the coastline from Maine to Miami, and east to 30 nautical miles offshore) using state of the art survey techniques.
Team members on this project include highly specialized ornithologists, marine biologists, aviators and image processing technology developers from Europe and North America, who supplement Pandion’s internal strengths in the areas of wind-wildlife ornithology, risk assessment, and remote wildlife sensing technology development. See project page for full list of collaborators >>
Acoustic Monitoring of Birds and Bats Near OCS Structures
The other project will develop and deploy acoustic (sound) and thermal (heat) detectors on offshore structures to gather data on birds and bats at proposed wind facility locations.
Unlike currently available techniques, these devices will operate remotely 24 hours a day and generate species-specific data. The devices will also estimate flight altitude of observed birds and bats to determine the potential risk from wind turbines.
Central among the collaborators on this
project is Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, who will develop and apply its acoustic bird identification software and data repository systems. See project page for full list of collaborators >>
“Pandion feels privileged to be a part of this pioneering research,” Gordon said. “We’re helping to lay the science and policy foundations for a new American clean energy future through offshore wind.”
Pandion has been conducting research for BOEMRE since 2008 in an additional study on potential for interactions of endangered and candidate bird species with wind facilities on the Atlantic OCS.
Pandion has special expertise in both onshore and offshore wind energy projects. We work with industry, government, and nonprofits to resolve wind-wildlife issues through studies, research, facilitation, and community outreach.