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GMI Conducts Avian Surveys in Advance of Wind Power Development Off N.J., Delaware

June 2012

GMI Bird Surveys

Atlantic City, N.J., currently hosts a five-turbine onshore wind farm that forms part of the city’s skyline. Fishermen’s Energy hopes to add to New Jersey’s movement into wind power by placing a string of six turbines in state waters about 2.8 miles seaward of the city. In preparation for development of this offshore wind power facility, GMI’s ornithologists have been conducting pre-construction bird surveys since May 2010.

This March, they began conducting bird surveys for Fishermen’s Energy at a site in federal waters farther offshore of Atlantic City. GMI’s ornithologists are continuing the use of widely accepted seabird-survey protocols during repeated boat surveys of transect lines positioned over the future development site. Some of the avian species encountered most often include Surf and Black scoters, Red throated and Common loons, Northern Gannets, Laughing Gulls, and Common and Forster’s terns.

The ornithologists also record opportunistic sightings of marine mammals, sea turtles and other species of interest (particularly migrating insects). They have seen bottlenose dolphins, which are common in spring and summer, and both humpback and fin whales, which are designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In May, they observed seven endangered loggerhead turtles in the region. GMI’s ornithologists have also been conducting similar surveys in state waters off Delaware since March 2012.