The fundamental aim of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust’s (OWET’s) cumulative effects framework is to provide an enduring set of information, presented in an effective way to inform substantial decisions about the future and ongoing management of wave energy developments in the context of the existing and future situation. At the core of the framework is an electronic tool which enables people to establish possible future scenarios on the basis of judgments about the type and intensity of impacts that may arise. Underpinning this core function are sets of data about the environmental sensitivities, technical factors, and activities that are and could take place in Oregon.
The data sets used in the current framework represent data sets that were freely available at the time this framework was developed. Ultimately, the data sets within the framework would represent all available information of interest to the user. This report collates supporting information on a comprehensive list of environmental sensitivities relevant to potential users of the framework.
This report discusses the status and trends in various physical, biological, social and economic factors that may be sensitive to the development of wave energy (sensitivities). It also addresses technical factors which would not be impacted directly or indirectly by wave energy projects, but which could impinge upon the prospects for their successful operation. In addition, the report describes the status and trends and associated pressures of those activities that are currently impacting that environment, such as fishing, shipping, recreation, and conservation. In the analysis of cumulative effects, these existing activities provide a baseline upon which the potential impacts and benefits of wave energy development are superimposed to provide a complete understanding of what development scenarios will mean for the natural and human communities along the Coast.
The data that are currently available for the framework are not yet complete; there are some areas where primary data still need to be gathered. There are other areas where the current status can be described but there is no knowledge about trends. There are still other areas where some understanding about status and trends may exist, based upon localized study, but as yet there are no available data sets relating to the particular parameter. Table 1.1 below lists the technical factors and environmental sensitivities potentially influencing / influenced by the development of wave energy and indicates the level of information obtained for this phase. Environmental factors for which no information has been gathered in this phase are not included in this current report.
This document should be seen a living document. As new and improved information becomes available and known then it can be added to this catalog. The importance of creating an overall structure for this document now is that the electronic framework tool draws upon the content of this report to provide background for the data sets it presents. Establishing a fixed architecture at this stage means that any updates can be incorporated into the RADMAPP framework tool with minimal work. However, if with experience it is found that additional or different information needs to be presented, this can still be achieved.
The structure of the report follows that covered elsewhere in this project. Environmental sensitivities are broken down into 5 distinct areas: