To best reflect its multisector work along the Atlantic coast to coordinate science and research related to offshore wind and wildlife, the RWSE is changing its name to the Regional Wildlife Science Collaborative for Offshore Wind (RWSC). The RWSC continues to be led by a Steering Committee with equal representation from four sectors: federal government, state governments, offshore wind companies, and environmental non-governmental organizations.
Since launching the organization in July 2021, the Steering Committee, four sectors, and hosts – the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean with the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation – have developed a plan to collaboratively fund the development of an RWSC Integrated Science Plan for Offshore Wind and Wildlife (“Science Plan”) by early 2023. The Science Plan will articulate the data collection and analysis activities needed for identifying, assessing, and avoiding impacts to the distribution, abundance, and behavior of wildlife due to offshore wind development, and will provide a roadmap for funding those activities. The four sectors and scientific experts are supporting Science Plan development through several taxa-based Subcommittees. The Marine Mammal Subcommittee has been meeting regularly since late 2021, and establishment of other committees (Birds & Bats, Sea Turtles, Habitat & Ecosystem, Protected Fish Species, and Cross-Taxa) are anticipated to in the coming months.
During Science Plan development, the RWSC will continue to support ongoing research activities, such as the collaborative funding plan for continued visual Aerial Megafauna Surveys in southern New England Wind Energy Areas announced earlier this year, the Department of Energy funded and Duke University led Project Wildlife and Offshore Wind (WOW), the development of a passive acoustic monitoring network in the Atlantic Ocean for large whales, and maintaining a database of ongoing and pending offshore wind and wildlife research activities.
Visit the RWSC website to learn more about Science Plan development and ongoing research, as well as a revised RWSC Governance Structure reflecting the new name, membership frameworks for each of the four sector caucuses, and current caucus rosters.