The demand for clean renewable energy sources is increasing worldwide and the state of Oregon hopes to establish itself as a leader in ocean wave energy research and development. Seven coastal counties have been selected as potential offshore sites for wave energy parks, and Tillamook County has been identified for a potential wind-float park. The state of Oregon works in partnership with several federal, state, and non-profit agencies to oversee the responsible development of ocean energy. The technology used for wave energy development is relatively new and little is known about the environmental impacts it will have on our coastal ecosystems. In an effort to identify potential environmental impacts of wave energy development, a workshop was held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, to assess uncertainties and identify research projects that could aid in minimizing the impact. Of concern regarding marine mammals was potential collision and entanglement in mooring cables and behavioral reactions to the acoustic output of wave energy buoys during installation and operation. There is available research on the impacts of marine wind energy on marine mammals, however, it is limited and more baseline studies are needed. This review is focused on the development of ocean energy in Oregon, potential impacts to marine mammals, and reviewing current and future research that could aid in mitigating those impacts. Specific interest is placed on the Eastern Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and local pinniped populations. While clean renewable energy development in Oregon is beneficial for the economy, it may come with ecological costs, including impacts on Oregon’s marine mammals.
Potential Impacts of Ocean Energy Development on Marine Mammals in Oregon
Davis, A. (2012). Potential Impacts of Ocean Energy Development on Marine Mammals in Oregon. Report by Oregon State University. pp 25.