Commercial viability of the marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy industry is contingent on numerous and diverse factors. A major factor is the effects deployed devices have on animals. This factor is multi-faceted since it is dependent on the availability of appropriate scientific approaches to detect these effects. One of the animal groups with overlapping distributions of MHK devices are fishes. As such, individual fish behavior is likely to be influenced by the presence and operation of MHK devices. Depending on the scale of deployment there are implications for changes to essential fish habitat and effects that can be explored during deployment of a single device yet most changes are likely to be realized when multiple devices are deployed over large areas. It is not only important to document these effects and examine the need for mitigation, but also determine whether the methods involved can be used within the economic constraints of this nascent industry. The results presented in this report benefit the MHK industry by providing transferrable environmental monitoring approaches for MHK projects, specifically related to the interactions between static and dynamic tidal turbines and fish. In addition, some of the data can be used to generalize conditions (e.g., the temporal periodicity of fish presence in tidal regions and probability of fish encountering a device) at other MHK sites with similar physical conditions and fish assemblages. Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC (ORPC) deployed and tested a prototype OCGen® tidal module in Cobscook Bay, Maine, in the summer of 2014. University of Maine researchers proposed an approach to inform other researchers, regulators, and industry members of the effects of this deployment on fish. While the approach was specifically applied to the OCGen® module, results are applicable to other pilot projects and inform future array deployments. Research funded under this grant allowed us to quantify fish presence as well as individual and group-level behavior changes in the presence of the deployed OCGen® module along with a bottom support frame from a previously deployed device (TidGen®). Specific objectives associated with fish behavior changes were (1) continuation of two long-term datasets: (a) stationary down-looking hydroacoustic dataset near an MHK device (group-level) and (b) stationary side-looking hydroacoustics near the bottom-support frame of a previously deployed MHK device (individual-level); (2) application of new processing methods to down-looking hydroacoustic datasets to improve fish species identification (group-level); and (3) development of an encounter probability model using data on fish abundance, vertical distribution, and behavior.
Interactions of Aquatic Animals with the ORPC OCGen in Cobscook Bay, Maine: Monitoring Behavior Change and Assessing the Probability of Encounter with a Deployed MHK Device
Title: Interactions of Aquatic Animals with the ORPC OCGen in Cobscook Bay, Maine: Monitoring Behavior Change and Assessing the Probability of Encounter with a Deployed MHK Device
October 19, 2016
Zydlewski, G.; Staines, G.; Viehman, H.; Shen, H.; Altenritter, M. (2016). Interactions of Aquatic Animals with the ORPC OCGen in Cobscook Bay, Maine: Monitoring Behavior Change and Assessing the Probability of Encounter with a Deployed MHK Device. Report by Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and University of Maine. pp 30.