Pre-Deployment Visual Monitoring for Beluga Whales in and Near the Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project Proposed Deployment Area
Study of beluga whale presence, relative abundance, and behavior off of the north side of Fire Island, Upper Cook Inlet, Alaska by LGL Alaska Research Associates, Inc., sponsored by Ocean Renewable Power Alaska.
Cook Inlet is home to some of the greatest tidal energy potential in the United States. It is also home to an endangered population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Successful permitting and operation of an ORPC tidal power project near Fire Island in Upper Cook Inlet will require assessment of the potential and realized effects of the sound footprint and physical presence of tidal turbines on the distribution, relative abundance, and behavior of Cook Inlet beluga whales.
The 2009 study plan to survey for beluga whales in and near the proposed Deployment Area was developed by ORPC and reviewed by regulatory and resource agencies as part of the FERC pre-consultation process.
The study had two primary objectives:
- Estimate the frequency of occurrence, relative abundance, and surface behavior of beluga whales in and near the Proposed Deployment Area during ice-free months of 2009.
- Provide information to ORPC, NOAA Fisheries, and FERC on beluga whale sightings and locations relative to the Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project.
Study activities completed May and June 2009 (PDF, 38 pages)
Study activities completed September 2009 (PDF, 35 pages )
Study activities completed October 2009 (PDF, 20 pages)
Final Report: June - November, 2009 (PDF, 98 pages). A copy of the approved study plan is included in Appendix A.
Progress Report May 2010 (PDF, 11 pages)
Progress Report June 2010 (PDF, 7 pages)
Progress Report July 2010 (PDF, 6 pages)
Progress Report August 2010 (PDF, 9 pages)
Progress Report September 2010 (PDF, 9 pages)
Final Report: May-November 2010 (PDF, 86 pages)