Key observations, data, findings, and results from benthic monitoring conducted in and around the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) Project Area are presented in this report. The monitoring was conducted to gather real-time data during the installation and initial operations of the wind turbine generators. The data collected during this monitoring will provide additional information necessary for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) evaluation of environmental effects of future facilities and generate data to improve the accuracy of models and analysis criteria employed to establish monitoring references and mitigations.
The overall goal of the study was to better understand the nature and potential spatial and temporal scales of anticipated alterations in benthic macrofaunal community characteristics because of the long-term placement of the turbine foundations on the seafloor. Key community characteristics evaluated included species abundance, richness, and assemblage structure, along with relationship dynamics between macrofaunal communities and their associated environments.