Right Whale Paper Published
A paper by GMI marine scientists Amy Whitt, Kathleen Dudzinski, and Jennifer Laliberté has been published in the journal Endangered Species Research. The authors summarize right whale sightings and acoustic data collected from the first year-round study dedicated to marine mammals in New Jersey’s nearshore waters.
Cultural Resources TxDOT Win
The Cultural Resources group of the GMI Environmental Services Division was awarded an Archeological General Services contract by the Texas Department of Transportation in February. One of four awardees, GMI will be involved in archeological survey, test excavations for National Register eligibility determinations, and data recovery projects across the state of Texas.
Biological Inventory Study for Melrose AFR
GMI wildlife biologists, in conjunction with Cannon AFB and Melrose AFR, initiated surveys for a Biological Inventory Study of a 10,968 acre area of land gifted to Melrose AFR by the state of New Mexico.
GMI to Support Fishermen's Energy with Environmental Impact Efforts
As part of the Energy Department's broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States, GMI will support the Fishermen's Energy team with R&D for the advancement of traditional thermal and video imaging systems related to the assessment of nocturnal animal (bird, bat) occurrence, strikes and behavior around offshore wind turbines.
GMI Researchers Contribute to Texas Archaeological Literature
Nancy Kenmotsu is a co-editor and author of a new book published by Texas A&M University Press: The Toyah Phase of Central Texas: Late Prehistoric Economic and Social Processes. The volume is about the hunter-gatherers living in central Texas from AD 1300 – 1700.
Estabrook Heads Cultural Resources Dept.
Following 20+ years working as a Project/Program Manager for several of the largest cultural resources firms in Florida, Rich Estabrook has joined GMI as Cultural Resources Program Manager in the Plano corporate office.
GMI offers a full line of wind energy project-related services, products, and technologies for wildlife and bird studies, assessments, and management at proposed and existing wind power development sites. GMI has years of experience studying the impacts of onshore and offshore wind power developments on wildlife, especially migratory birds. GMI staff are experts in conducting avian assessments and wildlife impact studies through the use of remote sensing (e.g., radar, thermal imaging, NEXRAD) and field methods (e.g., surveys, assessments) to support wind energy developments.
Environmental impacts of wind energy developments on wildlife in general and migratory birds and bats in particular is a concern of regulatory agencies. To assess the risk of a proposed wind energy project on wildlife, pre- and post-construction studies are needed. The results of these studies provide a database of information for the preparation of formal risk assessments that are considered before final approval is given for project construction.
GMI wind energy project-related services include:
- Site screening and selection
- NEXRAD analysis – determine regional migratory patterns over months and years
- Radar surveys – assess site-specific migratory bird or bat activity (passage rates, altitude use, flight directions)
- Avian and bat field surveys
- Advanced tracking and improved bird classification algorithms
- Mortality surveys and mitigation
- Land use analysis
- Threatened and endangered species presence and absence determination
- Archeological, cultural, and historical resources management
- Biological monitoring
- Migration and management plans
- Passive Acoustic Monitoring
- SPL Monitoring
- Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Surveys
- Habitat Modeling
- Abundance & Density Modeling
In addition, GMI offers similar services for other types of development projects such as:
- Wind turbine generator – siting studies, surveys, and operations
- Cellular towers – siting studies, surveys, and operations
- Biological habitat assessments and migratory studies and surveys
- Military and commercial aviation – BASH and wildlife hazard assessments and management plans
GMI has conducted a number of avian monitoring studies and avian risk assessments for commercial clients intending to site and permit wind power projects. These studies are similar to airport wildlife hazard assessments, collecting wildlife activity data over extended lengths of time.
A typical study combines data collected by GMI’s custom-designed Mobile Avian Radar System® (MARS®) bird detection system with field observations to identify avian activity relative to proposed wind and other development projects. The MARS® bird detection system plays a critical role in these assessments, automatically archiving and monitoring activity (24/7), speed, headings, and altitudes of birds that cross a project site. GMI’s visual survey protocols allow for a quantifiable assessment of detection performance while complementing MARS® performance to provide species composition. Although a typical radar study is 30 to 90 days, radar studies can be any duration based on client needs. GMI studies provide data to construct resident activity baselines and identify occurrence and duration of migratory and resident events.
GMI has developed advanced tracking and improved bird classification algorithms to provide the most accurate and defensible radar assessments for different types of birds (small neotropical songbird migrants, soaring migrant raptors, and other species such as geese, vultures, and grackles). In addition, GMI offers consultations and provides mitigation and management plans for wind power and other development projects.
The final report of this study is available at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/ocean-wind/report.htm.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, 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.