A consultancy perspective: Building consensus on wildlife monitoring

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1 June 30, 2015 A consultancy perspective: Building consensus on wildlife monitoring Gareth Lewis, Director Pro-Tide Work Package 2 Environmental Aspects, Final workshop (Isle of Wight 30 th June 2015). 0

2 Introduction July 6,

3 Context state of play» Development of smaller-scale devices has provided valuable insights into monitoring of future large-scale projects.» Test facilities and academic-led research provide opportunities to de-risk the consenting process & inform monitoring needs.» A one-size-fits-all approach to standardising impacts from tidal devices may not be possible, as technology designs are highly variable.» No need to reinvent the wheel - current sector knowledge and recommendations. July 6,

4 Context understanding the challenge» Relatively few tidal energy generators have been deployed and monitored, so knowledge of their effect on the environment is limited.» Industry consensus is that ornithology, fish and shellfish, and marine mammals are the big three challenges facing consent and deployment.» Survey-deploy-monitor approach has been adopted.» A number of projects currently aiming to provide generalised results. Rationalising uncertainty around impacts Variability in data collection & assessment Need better integration & co-ordination Towards adaptive management Formatting licence conditions July 6,

5 Key objectives for monitoring» To validate predictions made in an EIA or HRA to detect any unforeseen impacts.» To ensure compliance with measures identified in assessments to mitigate significant impacts. Linking project to environmental change Natural biological variability» To achieve this needs consideration of: Uncertainty the extent of error or assumptions that were made in calculating the impact. The higher the degree of uncertainty, the greater the need to monitor Significance the extent to which the identified impact is deemed significant. Timescales Practicalities of surveying in harsh environments July 6,

6 Characterisation of impacts what can be measured meaningfully? July 6,

7 Ornithology key impacts» Collision: Mortality or injury of individual birds.» Disturbance: Resulting in displacement lower foraging success reduced survival or productivity rates.» Changes in hydrodynamic regime: Positive or negative responses (e.g. increased foraging success, increased predation rates). Credit: Rosanna Milligan July 6,

8 Ornithology key challenges» Surveys do not enable quantification of specific impacts.» Surveys should focus on answering questions on level of effect.» Monitoring of ornithological impacts of current devices and those to be installed is key.» Dealing with uncertainty now should help to avoid the pitfalls faced by offshore wind developers. Credit: Rosanna Milligan July 6,

9 Ornithology key recommendations» The Survey Monitor Deploy is a pragmatic idea that will aid the industry.» Uncertainty should be addressed head on to facilitate a rapid and cost effective expansion of the industry.» Survey methodology should be discussed and agreed by developers, regulators and advisers at an individual project level.» Collaboration will lead to the best outcomes for all.» New research should give the ability to provide more robust predictions in EIA. Credit: Rosanna Milligan July 6,

10 Fish & shellfish key impacts» Collision: Mortality or injury of individuals.» Resulting Barrier effects: Effects act on diadromous species and differences in life stages.» Underwater Noise: Spawning, feeding and migration of diadromous fish considered unlikely to cause mortality or injury.» Habitat Creation: Structural complexity for colonisation and floating structures FADs. July 6,

11 Fish & Shellfish key challenges» Assessing complex population dynamics.» Validating collision risks.» Standardising impacts from wave and tidal devices should be discouraged.» Undertaking further research to reduce uncertainties.» Acknowledge impacts on fish and shellfish ecology are less of a priority than other receptors.» Acknowledging the positive effects of habitat creation / FADs.» Improving equipment for observations at appropriate resolution and reliability. July 6,

12 Fish & shellfish key recommendations» Consider non-diadromous fish and shellfish as low risk consenting issue.» Support research that provides greater certainty over the migration routes of diadromous species.» Ensure scientific investigations on the back of licensing requirements remain proportionate to the risk posed by the device.» Ensure risked based approach to assessment is maintained.» Link more spatial planning and co-operative initiatives with fishing industry / local stakeholder groups. July 6,

13 Marine mammal key impacts» Collision: Mortality and injury to individual marine mammals.» Disturbance: Displacement or behavioural change caused by construction or presence and operation of devices.» Underwater Noise: Construction noise may cause temporary disturbance, while operational noise may cause disturbance (but not over large distances).» Ecological Effects: Structures act as artificial reefs / FADs, while changes to flow and sedimentation may affect prey availability. July 6,

14 Marine mammal key challenges» Surveys provide information on marine mammal presence but do not enable understanding of specific impacts.» Understanding collision risk is the biggest priority.» Acknowledge that the current scale of projects and variable abundance / distribution means that displacement impacts may be difficult to detect.» Cumulative impacts.» Improving equipment to undertake observations at appropriate resolution and reliability. July 6,

15 Marine mammal key recommendations» Undertake robust and focused studies at demonstrator and early array sites.» Develop sensors and methodologies to enable data collection.» Research into mitigation solutions for identified and potential impacts.» Develop models to predict population level consequences of individual level responses / impacts.» Review of how evidence is used in decision making.» Strategic studies to increase baseline understanding of marine mammal at sites. July 6,

16 Monitoring and uncertainty Key areas for discussion Scale» How much research / monitoring through developer conditions? Targeted» What strategic work can benefit industry as a whole?» Need to ensure monitoring design answers the requirements needed to inform the consenting process. Sharing costs» Uncertainty may be viewed negatively but constructive and co-ordinated dialogue early in process may avoid issues hampering development of marine energy projects. July 6,

17 Monitoring and uncertainty. Key areas for discussion Knowledge base» Encourage phased deployment of larger arrays as lessons learnt ensure commercial-scale developments are not hampered by uncertainty over impacts. Protected species & conservation objectives» A one-size-fits-all approach to standardising potential impacts from tidal devices is not practical. Pragmatic: survey-deploymonitor» Concern that the onus is on developers to resolve complex environmental issues - this may be impractical and disproportionate to the scale of deployment. July 6,

18 Contact Information Gareth Lewis Director July 6,

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