Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has responsibilities for evaluating and mitigating negative impacts of offshore renewable energy activities on human, coastal, and marine communities. Furthermore, BOEM requires up-to-date information to address potential impacts when developing environmental impact statements and assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act regulations. Along the Pacific coast of the contiguous U.S., the states of California, Oregon, and Washington are also evaluating siting alternatives for developing offshore energy projects
within their state waters and adjacent Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) regions (Porter and Phillips 2016). Marine birds (i.e., birds that predominantly feed in marine waters and are well adapted to the marine environment [Furness and Monaghan 1987]) can be adversely affected by offshore wind energy infrastructure. For example, birds can collide directly with the rotors of wind turbines or experience displacement from migration routes or foraging and resting habitats. Therefore, an understanding of marine bird spatial distribution and density becomes important when considering development of offshore renewable energy resources in an environmentally sound manner. Moreover, experience from onshore wind energy development, offshore development in Europe, and recent developments on the Atlantic coast of the U.S. indicates that strategic siting of offshore energy infrastructure away from areas of concentrated bird activity may eliminate many potential bird-turbine conflicts (de Lucas et al. 2007).