Modeling options for marine wildlife for offshore wind developments

Using a range of modeling techniques, our scientists estimate the size of seabird, marine mammal and other wildlife populations, and how their numbers might be affected by environmental changes.

APEM Inc have worked with clients on a wide range of projects, supporting Construction and Operations Plans (COP) with advice on setting conservation objectives, associated permitting and best management practices.

APEM Inc have been working on offshore wind projects across the world for 14 years, and in the US since 2012. During this time, we have developed our technology, offering innovative, tailored solutions that meet the necessary legislation for the location surveyed.

Our best practice approach to surveying comes from years of experience and innovation. Although we were an early adopter of digital survey methods, we are constantly looking at new methodologies and ways of working, to ensure that we deliver robust and reliable data to our clients. An example of this is our use of LiDAR to record bird flight heights in place of traditional boat-based methods.

Our seabird and marine modelling services include:

  • Supporting the permitting process with information and research using best practice methods
  • Analyzing and interpreting survey data and associated
  • Gathering data using ground, digital aerial, aerial visual and boat-based surveys
  • Bespoke pre- and post-development surveys, such as before-after-control-impact (BACI), plus other bird and marine mammal surveys
  • Using robust and tested techniques such as distance analysis and functions that correct for detection to assess bird and marine mammal population sizes and changes through time and space
  • Predicting and visualizing the spatial distributions of birds and marine mammals using density surface modelling from kriging to Generalised Additive Models
  • Assessing how anthropogenic factors affect wildlife, using the latest analysis techniques such as CReSS and SALSA
  • Undertaking spatially explicit modelling in collaboration with specialist statisticians e.g. CREEM
  • Impact assessment for our offshore and onshore wind clients, including collision risk modelling
  • Delivering environmental statement chapters and baseline studies
  • MigroPath, a modelling tool developed in-house by our scientists, which is widely used during the planning process to assess and quantify risks to migrating birds
  • Using data from GPS-tagged seabirds to much improve estimates of site usage in each case: an innovative tactic which significantly lowers consenting risk
  • Analysing still images from digital aerial surveys to estimate a 99.8% avoidance rate of offshore wind turbines by Northern gannets
  • Protected areas condition reports including updated population sizes

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