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Ocean noise management: Three lessons from the U.S. Michael Jasny Natural Resources Defense Council Management Solutions for Underwater Noise in Canadas.

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Presentation on theme: "Ocean noise management: Three lessons from the U.S. Michael Jasny Natural Resources Defense Council Management Solutions for Underwater Noise in Canadas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ocean noise management: Three lessons from the U.S. Michael Jasny Natural Resources Defense Council Management Solutions for Underwater Noise in Canadas Pacific – Vancouver – June 2013

2 Lessons

3 1.Be honest in estimating take.

4 1. Estimating take Risk function for continuous noise (e.g., shipping) Risk function for non-continuous noise (e.g., pile-driving) The received wisdom 120 dB (RMS) 160 dB (RMS)

5 1. Estimating take Risk function for continuous noise (e.g., shipping) Risk function for non-continuous noise (e.g., pile-driving) The received wisdom

6 1. Estimating take In the United States, take is both a biological and a legal concept. Take means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or to attempt to do so. Harassment means any act that (a) Has the potential to injure an individual marine mammal, or (b) Has the potential to disturb an individual marine mammal by causing disruption of behavioral patterns such as migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering. U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, § 3(13), (18)

7 1. Estimating take Developments in the science On the one hand, scientific developments… 160 dB threshold is overly simplified, scientifically outdated, and artificially rigid. - Clark et al. (2012)

8 1. Estimating take Developments in the science a. Intraspecific variability

9 1. Estimating take Developments in the science a.Intraspecific variability b.Ultra-sensitive species

10 1. Estimating take Developments in the science a.Intraspecific variability b.Ultra-sensitive species c.Negative bias Clearly the lack of observed avoidance is not necessarily indicative of a lack of impact

11 1. Estimating take Developments in the science a.Intraspecific variability b.Ultra-sensitive species c.Negative bias d.Masking effects

12 1. Estimating take The MMPA requires the wildlife agencies to authorize incidental take but sets regulatory ceilings on the amount Number of takes from given activity Ceilings: small numbers of marine mammals Above ceiling: activity cannot be authorized & negligible impact on MM populations On the other hand, regulatory context…

13 ATOC JNCC HESS Bahamas SURTASS LFA Arctic PEIS IMO MSFD Focal events in ocean noise management MFA 1. Estimating take

14 As a legal concept, take in the U.S. is subject to pressures extrinsic to biology. Developments in the science a.Intraspecific variability b.Ultra-sensitive species c.Negative bias d.Masking effects Regulatory need > The 120 dB and 160 dB criteria have been very hard to dislodge, limiting the agencies ability to apply best available science to impact analysis of sub-lethal effects

15 Lessons 1.Be honest in estimating take. -U.S. numbers do not represent floor of sub-lethal effects -Need to account for all mechanisms of impact – not just behavioral disruption, but also masking, stress effects, etc., which may require different units of measurement -Need to account for negative bias in observation -Understand purpose of quantification of take, e.g., determining the scale of impact on different species or the relative consequences of alternative actions

16 Lessons 1.Be honest in estimating take. 2.Think cumulatively.

17 2. Think cumulatively Movement towards more comprehensive view despite law Under NMFS interpretation of MMPA, applicants decide scope of activity

18 2. Think cumulatively Movement towards more comprehensive view despite law Under NMFS interpretation of MMPA, applicants decide scope of activity Nonetheless, NMFS encourages user groups – particularly other federal agencies – to undertake programmatic regional review

19 2. Think cumulatively Movement towards more comprehensive view despite law Under NMFS interpretation of MMPA, applicants decide scope of activity Nonetheless, NMFS encourages user groups – particularly other federal agencies – to undertake programmatic regional review NMFS now attempting to develop comprehensive, multi-sector noise management policy

20 2. Think cumulatively Need for conservative assumptions/ proxies for population impacts The holy grail of population analysis What to do in the meantime? Chart: NRC 2005

21 2. Think cumulatively Need for conservative assumptions/ proxies for population impacts Taylor et al. 2007: high probability of not detecting precipitous decline in cetacean pops given present effort Underscores need for (1) conservative proxies and (2) population-focused survey/ monitoring effort in place that can at least improve the odds Chart: Taylor et al. 2007

22 2. Think cumulatively Need for conservative assumptions/ proxies for population impacts Charts: Moore and Barlow 2013; Miller et al. 2009; Hatch et al Data increasingly indicate concern for variety of taxa at population level

23 2. Think cumulatively Options for conservative assumptions/ proxies for population impacts Source: CCCSIP EIS a. Proxies based on degree of exposure or impact Non-injurious take ImpactListed Non-listed High magnitude>2.5%>25% Medium mag %15-25% Low magnitude>1 individual5-15% Central Coastal California Seismic Imaging Project Will need different proxies for long-term activities.

24 2. Think cumulatively Options for conservative assumptions/ proxies for population impacts Chart: Scholik-Schlomer et al b. Exceedance of baseline (present levels of acoustic energy) by 3 decibels in 10 years by 10 decibels in 30 years [W]e call for initial global action that will reduce the contributions of shipping to ambient noise energy in the Hz band by 3 decibels in 10 years and by 10 decibels in 30 years relative to current levels. This goal would be accomplished by reducing noise contributions from individual ships. - Hamburg Statement (2008) Low-frequency ambient noise trends in the North Pacific

25 Lessons 1.Be honest in estimating take. 2.Think cumulatively. In assessing risk of adverse population-level effects, its critical (1)to use highly conservative proxies for exceedance, and (2)to put population-focused survey/ monitoring effort in place for the life of the project

26 Lessons 1.Be honest in estimating take. 2.Think cumulatively. 3.Evolve beyond the near field: or, safety zones are so twentieth-century.

27 3. Evolve beyond the near field Norway U.S. Canada (for non-baleens) Italy Australia MFA sonar shut-down zones c The U.S. helped pioneer the safety zone in the 1990s, initially in the context of seismic airgun exploration in the Arctic and off California, then spreading to naval training, pile-driving, and other activities. Much regulatory energy is spent on designing protocols for safety zones and ramp-up – radii, pre-monitoring, stop/ start, etc. Now required of virtually every authorized activity in the U.S.

28 Omnidirectional sound energy levels from a single seismic airgun shot in Harrison Bay, North Slope, Alaska, integrated over 1 second Map: Fleishman et al Evolve beyond the near field Scale of solution must match scale of problem

29 Habitat-based management (e.g., exclusion areas, ATBAs, shipping lane consolidation and revision, MPA management) Noise-quieting methods and technologies (e.g., quiet ship design, technological alternative for seismic airguns, attenuation systems for piledrivers) Multi-sector cumulative noise management (region- or population- based) N.B. Does not displace near-field mitigation for high-intensity sources (e.g., pile drivers) Shifting focus for U.S. mitigation: habitat and technology U.S./ IMO Arctic PEIS 3. Evolve beyond the near field Pile-driving

30 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management a. Avoiding ensonification of identified areas of biological importance Arctic: action alternative to protect important bowhead whale habitat from oil & gas exploration noise

31 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management a. Avoiding ensonification of identified areas of biological importance NMFS presently identifying known biologically important areas for cetaceans as part of CetMap process – throughout entire U.S. EEZ

32 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management b. Reducing take risk by shifting activities out of higher-density areas/ seasons for target species Massachusetts: USCG shifting shipping lanes within the Stellwagen Bank NMS effected a nearly 50% reduction in right whales exposed to noise levels above NMFS take threshold (120 dB); similar effects also achieved through ship-speed reductions

33 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management b. Reducing take risk by avoiding high-density areas for target species Through CetMap process, NMFS has mapped cetacean densities primarily through predictive modeling across entire U.S. EEZ

34 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management c. Setting conservation targets: the future? Agardy et al. 2007: set conservation targets (e.g., keeping X% of primary habitat in acoustically healthy condition, or maintaining present baseline for acoustic habitat) and use MARXAN to design implementation plan; now under consideration by NMFS as part of follow-on to CetMap

35 3. Evolve beyond the near field Time-area management c. Setting ecological targets: the future? Through CetMap process, NMFS is mapping noise levels from major chronic and intermittent sources across entire U.S. EEZ

36 3. Evolve beyond the near field Noise-quieting methods and technologies Major new trend in noise mitigation – in U.S. and elsewhere – for shipping, pile-driving, and oil and gas exploration U.S. agencies recognize enormous promise of quieting technology, are proactive but have not yet developed action alternatives for implementation

37 3. Evolve beyond the near field Noise-quieting methods and technologies Leadership at IMO: - In 2008, U.S. petitioned the IMOs Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to develop voluntary guidelines to quiet commercial vessels - Has helped lead correspondence/ working groups - Guidelines up for MEPC approval in March 2014; further refinement thereafter Next phase: green certification and other compliance programs The [Central California National Marine Sanctuaries] should work with the Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Francisco Bay port authorities and industry to establish port-based incentives for the reduction of underwater shipping noise. - Adopted NMS Joint Working Group recs Shipping

38 3. Evolve beyond the near field Noise-quieting methods and technologies Feb. 2013: U.S. BOEM convened major international workshop on quieting technologies for offshore energy (airguns, pile-drivers, vessels) Pile-driving

39 3. Evolve beyond the near field Noise-quieting methods and technologies Feb. 2013: Agencies convened major international workshop on quieting technologies for offshore energy (airguns, pile-drivers, vessels) But Europe ahead of U.S. for offshore renewables: 5-10 years ahead in offshore wind development, action-forcing by Germany Pile-driving

40 3. Evolve beyond the near field Noise-quieting methods and technologies Feb. 2013: Agencies convened major international workshop on quieting technologies for offshore energy (airguns, pile-drivers, vessels) But Europe ahead of U.S. for offshore renewables: 5-10 years ahead in offshore wind development, action-forcing by Germany U.S. playing catch-up: best available technology will probably be required for turbine construction, but action-forcing regulation would be helpful on this side of the Atlantic Pile-driving

41 Lessons 1.Be honest in estimating take. 2.Think cumulatively. 3.Evolve beyond the near field: e.g., time-area management and noise quieting.

42 Thank you! Michael Jasny

43 Source: Harwood, Oct PCoD symposium 1. Estimating take

44 MMPA §101(a): There shall be a moratorium on the taking and importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products…, during which time no permit my be issued… except in the following cases: MMPA §101(a)(5)(A): Upon request therefor by citizens of the United States who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region, the Secretary shall allow… the incidental, but not intentional, taking by citizens while engaging in that activity within that region of small numbers of marine mammals of a species or population stock if the Secretary, after notice… and opportunity for public comment – (I) finds that the total of such taking during each five- year (or less) period concerned will have a negligible impact on such species or stock… small numbers and negligible impact Illegal to disrupt, injure, or kill marine mammals unless… 1. Estimating take

45 U.S.: Navy relocated major exercise to avoid DeSoto Canyon (sperm whales) Spain: 50 nm exclusion around Canary Islands (beaked whales) Exclusion areas and siting measures Hotspot driver Exclusion areas are broadly established on a sector-by-sector basis, or habitat is avoided on a project-by-project basis, to reflect known hotspots (i.e., habitat important or risk elevated due to other factors or both)

46 Exclusion areas and siting measures Programmatic assessment driver Programmatic approach to environmental assessment or permitting process allows consideration of sector-wide exclusions or siting measures on a regional basis U.S.: Atlantic Fleet sonar training ( ), alternative 3 U.S.: Arctic oil and gas exploration ( ), alternative 4

47 Habitat important for feeding, breeding, migrating, or even resting Observational data (visual, acoustic tags, etc) site-specific behavior Survey data population densities Correlation with oceanographic features (banks, seamounts, fronts, steep canyon walls) Predictive habitat modeling Exclusion areas and siting measures Bases used in various jurisdictions U.S.: Navy used predictive modeling to establish siting alternatives/ exclusion areas for Atlantic Fleet sonar training


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