A literature search was conducted to identify recent articles that would be useful to help assess the potential environmental effects of renewable energy development in the ocean, with emphasis on seabirds and fish. It was clear that the potential effects frequently were offered as hypotheses that were not supported by appropriate documentation. Therefore, the literature search was refined and focused on trying to obtain the necessary information to support or challenge a proposed potential effect.
Two case studies were developed to investigate the validity of the concerns that an offshore wave park proposed for development off Reedsport, Oregon, would affect two federally protected species, the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) and the green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The literature review showed that the marbled murrelets could encounter the wave park proposed for Reedsport, but most birds would pass the park over shallower waters that are closer to shore. Although the interaction between the proposed wave park and marbled murrelets cannot be excluded, the description of the wave park and the literature on murrelet biology suggest that the likelihood of an adverse interaction between the park and murrelets is low. Similarly, some Southern green sturgeons, a distinct population segment, migrating north to estuaries along the Oregon and Washington coasts would encounter the wave park proposed for Reedsport and its associated shoreward transmission cable, but most sturgeons would pass the park in shallower waters that are closer to shore. Migrating sturgeons would be exposed to some electromagnetic field levels, but those would not be expected to adversely affect the sturgeon population because field strength diminishes to levels near background at short distances from the cable and most fish swim relatively close to shore where they would only encounter the single transmission cable.