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Accession Number DE2013-1087285
Title Assessment of Strike of Adult Killer Whales by an OpenHydro Tidal Turbine Blade.
Publication Date Feb 2012
Media Count 46p
Personal Author A. E. Copping B. E. Watson J. L. Elster K. Metzinger M. Watkins M. E. Jones R. Jepsen T. J. Carlson
Abstract Snohomish Public Utility District No. 1 (SnoPUD) proposes to deploy two OpenHydro tidal turbines in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound. The fisheries service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) has expressed concerns that the turbines may cause a risk for the highly endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population if a whale is struck by an operating turbine. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for protecting the (fewer than 90) SRKWs under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Because the SRKW numbers are so small, significant injury of a single animal could place the population in jeopardy. The potential risk to a SRKW can be parsed into the probability that a whale would encounter a turbine, the probability that the encounter would injure the whale, and the severity of any injury. During a meeting with representatives of SnoPUD, OpenHydro, the Department of Energy, and NOAA Fisheries, participants agreed that the probability of a SRKW encountering a turbine by chance is negligibly small as the whales spent greater than 97 percent of their time in Admiralty Inlet in the top 30 meters of water, while the turbines are located at 55 meters of depth, and the SRKW have highly evolved acoustic sensory capabilities that would help them detect the presence of a turbine. NOAA Fisheries expressed concerns over the potential severity of a strike on a SRKW should it occur. A proposed solution was to conduct an estimate of the level of injury that might occur from an encounter between a turbine blade and a SRKW, which would allow NOAA Fisheries to determine the permitting requirements for the tidal project.
Keywords Endangered species
Environmental effects(Animals)
Fish populations
Natural resource protection
Puget Sound
Turbine blades

Source Agency Technical Information Center Oak Ridge Tennessee
NTIS Subject Category 98F - Fisheries & Aquaculture
47D - Biological Oceanography
57H - Ecology
97O - Miscellaneous Energy Conversion & Storage
Corporate Author Pacific Northwest National Lab., Richland, WA.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1403
Contract Number DE-AC05-76RL01830

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