Normandeau and APEM were contracted by NYSERDA to provide four quarterly aerial digital surveys over a single year of the site originally termed ‘Wind Energy Area’ (WEA). The four surveys were conducted between summer 2016 to spring 2017. The WEA site was subsequently leased by Equinor in March 2017 and is now referred to as Lease Area OCS-A 0512.
The aims and objectives of the work required by NYSERDA were to assess the abundance and distribution of primarily birds present in the WEA, and also to gather information on other marine fauna such as marine mammals, sharks, rays, and turtles. Equinor further contracted APEM to report on the findings of these four quarterly surveys in order to form the ‘Year 1’ data collection of Lease Area OCS-A 0512. APEM were contracted separately to undertake a further programme of monthly aerial digital surveys of Lease Area OCS-A 0512 from November 2017 to October 2018, which form the ‘Year 2’ data collection of Lease Area OCS-A 0512. The purpose of the Year 1 and Year 2 data sets is to provide the baseline information required for conducting impact assessments and will meet the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM's) regulatory requirements for environmental review.
The Lease Area OCS-A 0512 referred to herein comprises of the Lease Area OCS-A 0512 site (the proposed turbine array footprint) plus a 4 km (2.5 miles) buffer surrounding it. To meet the objectives of the project, images were captured using a grid-based aerial digital survey design with a 1.5 cm ground sampling distance (GSD). Digital still images were collected, processed and analyzed by APEM with species identification and quality control undertaken by Normandeau.
This ‘Year 1’ Annual Report summarizes the data collected following the completion of four quarterly aerial digital surveys of the ‘WEA’ completed between July 2016 and May 2017. A separate ‘Year 2’ Annual Report summarizes the data collected from the 12 monthly aerial digital surveys conducted on behalf of Equinor of Lease Area OCS-A 0512 between November 2017 and October 2018. These two years of data are to be combined and summarized in a separate offshore ornithology baseline technical report in support of the draft Construction and Operation Plan (COP).