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NOAA Recommendations for Use of Passive Acoustic Listening Systems

Together, NOAA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have created a series of recommendations for baseline monitoring as well as monitoring during offshore wind farm construction and operation for mitigation efforts.

Nearly complete wind turbine platform and another platform under construction, with construction vessel in between platforms. Wind turbine under construction at Block Island, Rhode Island. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Andrew Lipsky

In order to meet renewable energy goals, offshore wind energy development is rapidly ramping up in U.S. waters. A variety of endangered whale species and many other protected marine species frequent these same waters. Understanding the effects of human activities present more complex challenges. 

Passive acoustic monitoring is one of several methods for monitoring the presence of species, mitigating risk, and evaluating potential behavioral and distributional changes resulting from offshore wind activities. Regulatory communities and industry expressed a need for more detailed information on available PAM capabilities and techniques to promote efficient, consistent, and meaningful data collection efforts. 

This infographic shows four general steps in the process of monitoring a wind energy development area with passive acoustic observers and technologies to determine when protected species are present and pile-driving construction pauses or restarts.

NOAA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have created recommendations to support this need. These recommendations may also aid the development of project-specific PAM plans by identifying important components for inclusion while promoting consistency across plans. They provide the minimum set of procedures and system requirements needed when designing PAM plans. NOAA Fisheries may require additional regulatory measures related to PAM during offshore wind construction and operation. 

The recommendations provide an initial guide for stakeholders. Approaches to PAM will evolve as future studies focus on different regions, and as scientific publications or other relevant information becomes available.

NOAA and BOEM recommendations




NOAA and BOEM Minimum Recommendations for Use of Passive Acoustic Listening Systems in Offshore Wind Energy Development Monitoring and Mitigation Programs

In addition to broad national recommendations, the publication includes supplements featuring example uses of the framework tailored to…

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on July 14, 2022