Goodale publishes on effects of offshore wind energy development on seabirds
Offshore wind farms are rapidly being permitted along the East Coast of the US, and with subsequent development could cumulatively affect seabird populations. Yet, the seabird guilds most likely at risk of cumulative effects have not been identified. Assessments of cumulative effects must first calculate the cumulative exposure of seabirds to areas suitable for offshore wind farms and then estimate how exposure will affect populations. This paper addresses this first need, and quantifies how three different wind farm siting scenarios could cumulatively expose seven seabird foraging guilds. The coastal bottom gleaner guild (sea ducks) would be exposed at similar rates regardless of siting decision, while other coastal guilds would be exposed at a higher rate when projects are built in shallow areas and close to shore rather than in high-wind areas. The pelagic seabird guild would be exposed at high rates when projects are built in high-wind areas. There was no single offshore wind siting scenario that reduced the cumulative exposure for all guilds. Based upon these findings, we identify the foraging guilds most likely to be cumulatively exposed and propose an approach for siting and mitigation that may reduce cumulative exposure for all guilds.