Methods, data, observations, results, and findings from real-time environmental monitoring surveys conducted in and around the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) Project Area during the installation of the wind turbine foundations are presented in this report. The monitoring was conducted under the United States (U.S.) Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Real-Time Opportunity for Development Environmental Observations (RODEO) Program.
The five-turbine, 30-megawatt BIWF is the nation’s first offshore wind facility, and is located 4.5 kilometers (km) (2.8 miles [mi]) from Block Island, Rhode Island, in the Atlantic Ocean. Water column depth in the wind farm area is approximately 30 meters (m) (98.4 feet [ft]). BIWF construction was completed in two phases. During Phase 1, five steel jacket foundations were installed on the seabed; Phase 2 involved installation of the turbines on the foundations and laying of the submarine power transmission cables. The real-time construction monitoring included the following:
- Construction Phase 1 - visual monitoring of construction activities from onshore and offshore locations - onshore and offshore airborne noise monitoring - near- and far-field underwater sound monitoring - seafloor disturbance and recovery monitoring- turbine foundation scour monitoring.
- Construction Phase 2 - visual monitoring of submarine cable laying activities from onshore and offshore locations1 - visual monitoring of construction activities from onshore and offshore locations - onshore and offshore airborne noise monitoring - seafloor disturbance and recovery monitoring.
The monitoring data will provide additional information necessary for BOEM’s evaluation of environmental effects of future facilities and generate data to improve the accuracy of models and analysis criteria employed to establish monitoring controls and mitigations. Key observations and significant findings from the various types of monitoring conducted during the BIWF Phase 1 construction phase are summarized below.