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NOAA and Community Offshore Wind to Partner on Environmental Monitoring Program

September 14, 2023

New agreement to focus on effective environmental monitoring and data sharing

Two men on deck at the rail of a ship watching a fine-mesh net array being hauled onboard by a winch. Plankton sampling using fine-mesh nets is a kind of environmental monitoring that could be used in offshore wind energy areas. This image was taken on a 2015 federal ecosystem monitoring survey in the Northeast. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Community Offshore Wind—a joint venture between RWE and National Grid Ventures—have signed a 5-year cooperative research and development agreement to exchange data and expertise. The agreement focuses on informing development of an environmental monitoring program for COSW’s project off New York and New Jersey.

The partnership will support NOAA’s ongoing environmental monitoring across the region with needed data while new offshore wind projects are constructed. It will also help to inform best practices for establishing environmental observation systems on offshore wind infrastructure.

“With help from a number of collaborators and the fishing industry, our agency maintains some of the world’s most comprehensive data sets on large marine ecosystems,” said Jon Hare, director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “Our goal is to bring offshore wind energy monitoring activities into this partnership. This agreement is our first chance to make these partnerships a reality and show by example that effective scientific monitoring benefits everyone.” 

Building Sound Monitoring Programs

Under the agreement, NOAA and COSW will: 

  • Establish a feasible and scientifically sound monitoring program for COSW’s project that can support effective and ecologically meaningful regional monitoring programs
  • Ensure collected monitoring data are shared and integrated into fishery, habitat, and protected resources assessments in the region

“This partnership is a groundbreaking opportunity for both the offshore wind industry and the scientific community alike. The scientific data collected through our environmental monitoring program will be invaluable as we continue to study, and seek to mitigate, the impacts of offshore wind development on marine ecosystems,” said Doug Perkins, President and Project Director of Community Offshore Wind. “Community Offshore Wind looks forward to collaborating with NOAA to design marine wildlife monitoring programs that are thoughtfully informed and scientifically sound, and also support existing regional scientific assessments.”

Under the cooperative research and development agreement framework federal and non-federal partners can come together for collaborative research to share ideas, technical expertise, facilities, and other research materials.

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center works to promote sustainability of marine life in the region, support seafood harvests, sustain coastal communities, and generate economic opportunities and benefits from the use of these resources.

Since acquiring its lease area, Community Offshore Wind has engaged with fisheries stakeholders throughout the Northeast region to better understand concerns and identify opportunities to achieve successful outcomes. This agreement reflects the joint venture’s commitment to continuing this engagement as project development continues.

For more information on cooperative research and development agreements and other ways to partner with NOAA, visit the NOAA Technology Partnerships Office


Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on September 14, 2023