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Long-term/Archival Passive Acoustic Monitoring

WHAT’S NEW

RWSC convenes all four Sectors (federal agencies, states, offshore wind companies, eNGOs) on regional deployment, data management, and analysis of long-term/archival PAM. The RWSC Marine Mammal Subcommittee leads this work. Read the RWSC Marine Mammal Subcommittee Passive Acoustic Monitoring Workshop Summary (September 2023) for a complete synopsis of this topic.

Who is contributing the the regional long-term/archival PAM network?

The research community and state, federal, and industry funders of long-term/archival passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) in U.S. Atlantic waters have the common goal of detecting and characterizing any broad-scale shifts in baleen whale detections as offshore wind projects are constructed and operate throughout the region.

An unofficial and conservative estimate of total funding from all known sources deploying in U.S. Atlantic waters for long-term/archival PAM are on the order of $5M per year for the next few years.

RWSC is providing the forum for coordination. RWSC hosted a PAM Workshop in September 2023 to continue and expand on activities of the Marine Mammal Subcommittee ongoing since early 2022. RWSC has also held PAM coordination meetings for individual subregions (Southern New England in June 2023 and NY/NJ Bight in May 2024). Participants in these activities provide RWSC with coordinates of planned and deployed PAM sensors for sharing on a regional map (see DEPLOYMENT MAPS tab). A coast-wide grid is used to help guide deployments and maximize coverage.

Offshore wind companies: BOEM requires long-term/archival PAM within the project footprint as part of each approved offshore wind project. The number of sensors and duration of required monitoring is different for each project. Vineyard Wind 1 and South Fork Wind coordinated the development of their PAM Plans with RWSC. Some companies are also voluntarily deploying PAM in and near their lease area, and developing partnerships with states, universities, and/or research institutions to manage the work.

Federal agencies: BOEM and NOAA each received Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds that will be applied to long-term/archival PAM. In late 2023, BOEM also launched the POWERON intitiative (Partnership for an Offshore Wind Energy Regional Observation Network) where offshore wind companies can provide funds to BOEM to purchase and manage PAM equipment and data for their required PAM Plan.

States: Several states are funding long-term archival PAM deployment. The ASMFC is coordinating among the states from Maine through Maryland on the use
of $30M from a federal appropriation to advance North Atlantic right
whale research and monitoring. These funds are part of a multi-year appropriation over
the next six years. Several states have expressed interest in using a portion of these
funds to support PAM deployment. The proportion of the total fund that each state
receives is tied to the number of lobster permit-holders in each state.

Project WOW: The Project WOW team has partnered with Vineyard Wind 1 and Empire Wind to deploy long-term/archival PAM within each lease area as part of their DOE-BOEM-funded project.


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DEPLOYMENT MAPS

The RWSC Marine Mammal Subcommittee has developed and maintains maps showing the components of a proposed Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) design for regional long-term monitoring in Atlantic offshore lease areas and wind energy areas.

Click on the map to learn more about locations where PAM devices are currently located. A PAM device may be deployed anywhere within the highlighted grid cell. The Subcommittee also maintains detailed offline maps and a list of coordinates that are available to practitioners upon request (contact Debbie Brill, Marine Mammal Subcommittee Coordinator).

These and other data can also be viewed on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal, where they can be overlaid with many other layers depicting ocean uses and resources.

RESOURCES