WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) issued its Record of Decision (ROD) today for the Vineyard Wind I project off the coast of Massachusetts, meaning the project is approved to move forward. When completed, it will be the largest offshore wind project to date in the United States. The approval comes with serious measures reduce impact to migratory birds.
“With the increasing threat of climate change, responsibly sited and operated clean energy projects like Vineyard Wind are critical to the survival of birds,” said Garry George, director of the National Audubon Society’s Clean Energy Initiative. “Even with this approval we expect to continue working with Vineyard Wind to help meet its commitments to avoid, minimize, and mitigate and monitor the project’s impact on the environment.”
The Vineyard Wind I project will deliver 800MW of energy to up to 800,000 homes. The National Audubon Society sought for the following provisions to be met:
- Measures to estimate impacts to marine birds and migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), prioritizing endangered Roseate Tern, Red Knot and Piping Plover;
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other measures to avoid and minimize impacts to these birds; and
- Development and implementation of new technologies to understand how avian communities interact with offshore wind in U.S. waters.
In response, BOEM required Vineyard Wind to develop a monitoring program that includes pre- and post-construction avian surveys, installation of radio telemetry receivers within the project area, the deployment of radio transmitter backpacks to species of concern that may interact with the project, and the use of additional monitoring technologies as they become available.
The results of this monitoring program will be made publicly available to better understand impacts and to inform best practices at future developments. Additionally, the project is well-sited to avoid the most important offshore habitats for marine birds, based on the best available science.
More about Audubon’s policy on wind power and birds can be found here: https://www.audubon.org/news/wind-power-and-birds
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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