Volume II presents the methods and results of the avian surveys and associated avian studies and modeling analyses for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Ocean/Wind Power Ecological Baseline Studies (EBS) project. Project location and project goals are presented in Volume I, Chapter 1.0, of this study report. Avian surveys and associated avian studies include shipboard offshore and coastal boat surveys, aerial surveys, radar surveys and studies, and predictive modeling.
The objectives of the avian coastal boat and offshore ship surveys are to determine diurnal avian species occurrence, distribution, abundance, and altitude distribution. Species occurrence data are needed to determine the presence or absence and locations of federal and state-classified, threatened, endangered, and candidate species, federal avian species of conservation concern, and state species of concern. Avian distribution and abundance data are needed to develop the avian predictive model that will determine avian abundance (densities) in the Study Area. Diurnal avian altitudinal data are used to determine the potential number of birds in the wind turbine’s rotor swept zone (RSZ).
The objectives of the avian radar surveys are to identify diurnal and nocturnal altitudinal distribution of bird tracks and to determine flux (number of bird tracks moving through a set volume during a set time period) of targets below, within, and above the potential RSZ. Precise altitude distribution and flux data is needed for the RSZ to determine potential bird-turbine collision impacts. Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) data for a five year period from nearshore and offshore sites is needed to determine migration densities between these two general potential wind power development areas and to identify weather conditions that may force birds to fly at lower altitudes (i.e., in the RSZ).
The objective of the avian predictive model is to estimate avian density data throughout the Study Area. In addition, bird density relationships between covariates (e.g., shoals, distance from shore) are needed to identify locations within the Study Area that may have lower bird densities and potential impacts.
The results of several avian studies are incorporated into an Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) (Volume I: Chapter 4.0) of the Study Area to aid offshore wind developers in selecting development sites with minimal avian environmental impacts. Predictive modeling, which includes mapping of avian densities and determination of the importance of covariates, is the primary avian data component of the ESI.
This volume is divided into 10 chapters. These chapters, including this introduction, are: Avian Shipboard Offshore and Small Boat Coastal Surveys, Offshore Aerial Surveys, Additional Avian Offshore and Onshore Surveys, Avian Radar Surveys, Thermal Imaging Vertically Pointed Radar Surveys, NEXRAD Analysis, Avian Predicative Modeling, Summary of Results, and Literature Cited. Acronyms and abbreviations and a list of metric to United States (U.S.) measurement conversions used within this volume are provided in the Table of Contents. A glossary of terms is provided at the end of the avian appendix volume.