Offshore wind farms: Impact on seabirds and marine mammals
In 1997, the Danish Government made a commitment to develop offshore wind power. The first wind farms were demonstration projects, designed to assess their environmental impact, with special emphasis on water birds and marine mammals.
Denmark, with its shallow, food rich marine waters, lies central in the Western Palaearctic flyway for many seabirds. Danish marine waters support millions of birds throughout the year, and are also home to harbour porpoises and seals.
The National Environmental Research Institute (NERI) is responsible for assessing the impact of wind turbines on birds and marine mammals, with emphasis on disturbance effects and collision risk. Bird and mammal distribution and abundance are determined by aerial surveys undertaken before, during and after construction. Radar and remote sensing techniques are used to monitor bird migration and predict collision risk. Tracking of radio-tagged seals and monitoring of harbour porpoises by automated recording equipment provide information on their movements and abundance.
The methods developed by NERI have been adopted in neighbouring countries planning to establish offshore wind farms. The first results can be expected in 2004.
Birds: Ib Clausager, National Environmental Research Institute. Phone: +45 8920 1540. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marine mammals: Jonas Teilmann, National Environmental Research Institute. Phone: +45 4630 1947. E-mail: email@example.com
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