The ability to gather real-time and near real-time data on marine mammal distribution, movement, and habitat use has advanced significantly over the last two decades. These advancements have outpaced their adoption into a meaningful risk-based assessment framework so critically needed to support society's growing demands for a transition towards increased reliance on renewable energy. Marine acoustics have the capacity to detect, identify, and locate vocalizations over broad areas. Photogrammetric and image processing increases the ability to visually detect animals from surface or aerial platforms. Ecological models based upon long-term observational data coupled with static and remotely sensed oceanographic data are able to predict daily and seasonal habitat suitability. Extensive monitoring around anthropogenic activities combined with controlled experiments of exposure parameters (i.e., sound) supports better informed decisions on reducing effects. Population models and potential consequence modeling provide the ability to estimate the significance of individual and population exposure. The collective capacities of these emerging technical approaches support a risk ranking/risk management approach to monitoring and mitigating effects on marine mammals related to development activities. The monitoring paradigm related to many offshore energy-related activities, however, has long been spatially limited, situationally myopic, and operationally uncertain. A case evaluation process is used to define and demonstrate the changing paradigm of effective monitoring aimed at protecting living resources and concurrently providing increased certainty that essential activities can proceed in an efficient manner. Recent advances in both technologies and operational approaches are examined to delineate a risk-based paradigm, driven by a diversity of regional data inputs, that is capable of meeting the imperative for timely development of offshore wind energy.