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Marine Species Monitoring

Atlantic Region: Current Projects


 


Atlantic Fleet Training & Testing Monitoring Projects

 

The table below summarizes marine species monitoring projets being conducted in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in support of Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Marine Mammal Protection Act requirements (50 CFR Part 218).  Reports and data from these projects will be made available on the individual project profile pages and the Reading Room as they become available.

Project titles link directly to individual project profile pages with additional details and access to data and reports.


*Intermediate Scientific Objectives are established in coordination with NMFS through the Strategic Planning Process to help prioritize monitoring investments

Project Description Intermediate Scientific Objective* Status
Title: Haul-Out Counts and Photo-Identification of Pinnipeds in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore of Virginia

Objectives: Document seasonal occurrence, habitat use, and haul-out patterns of seals

Methods: Visual surveys, photo ID

Performing Organizations: NAVFAC Atlantic, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries,The Nature Conservancy, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2014-2021

Funding: Funding: FY15 - $52K, FY16 - $36K, FY17 - $7K, FY18 - $29K, FY19 - $62K, FY20 - $60k

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Fieldwork ongoing

Title: Haul-Out Counts and Photo-Identification of Pinnipeds in Narragansett Bay, RI

Location: Narragansett Bay

Objectives: Document seasonal occurrence, habitat use, and haul-out patterns of seals

Methods: Visual surveys, photo ID

Performing Organizations: NUWC Newport

Timeline: 2014 to 2017

Funding: Funding: FY15 $45K; FY16 $102K

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

On hold

Surveys and tagging to resume in 2021
Title: Behavioral Response of Humpback Whales to Vessel Traffic

Location: Chesapeake Bay and Nearshore Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Understand the behavioral response of humpback whales to approaching vessels in the shipping channels at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Methods: Dtagging, satellite tagging, and focal follow observational methods

Performing Organizations: Duke University, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2019-2021

Funding: FY19 - $95k, FY20 - $75K

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate behavioral responses of marine mammals exposed to Navy training and testing activities

New start - 2019 pilot project

Field work ongoing
Title: Mid-Atlantic Offshore Cetacean Study

Location: Offshore Mid-Atlantic shelf and shelf break (VACAPES OPAREA)

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat use, and baseline behavior of cetaceans in the offshore and continental shelf break region of the VACAPES OPAREA

Methods: Visual surveys, focal follow observational methods, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2016-2021

Funding: FY16 - $645k, FY18 - $322k, FY19 - $357k, FY20 - $371k

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Continuing

Shifting to sperm whale feeding ecology focus in 2020
Title: Pinniped Tagging and Tracking in Southeast Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Eastern Shore

Objectives: Document habitat use, movement and haul-out patterns of seals in the Hampton Roads region of Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic Ocean

Methods: Photo ID, tagging

Performing Organizations: Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Virginia Aquarium, The Nature Conservency, NAVFAC Atlantic, NUWC Newport, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2017-21

Funding: FY16 - $40K, FY17 - $170K, FY18 - $46K, FY19 - $468k, FY20 - $161K

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Final field season - Feb 2021

Title: Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Monitoring

Location: Nearshore Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess ocurrence, habitat use, and baseline behavior of humpback whales in the mid-Atlantic region

Methods: Focal follow observational methods, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2015-2021

Funding: FY14 - $320k, FY15 - $260k, FY16 - $370k, FY17 - $325k, FY19 - $248k, FY20 - $257k

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Continuing

Title: Atlantic Behavioral Response Study

Location: Cape Hatteras study area

Objectives: Assess behavioral response of beaked and pilot whales to mid-frequency tactical sonar

Methods: Controlled exposure experiments, DTAGs, satellite tags

Performing Organizations: Southall Environmental Associates, Duke University, Cascadia Research Collective, University of St. Andrews, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2017-2020

Funding: FY16 - $35k, FY17 - $1.6M, FY18 - $1.4M, FY19 - 1.4M, FY20 - $1.3M

Evaluate behavioral responses of marine mammals exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Continuing

Title: Lower Chesapeake Bay Sea Turtle Tagging and Tracking

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay (Hampton Roads)

Objectives: Assess ocurrence and behavior of loggerhead, green, and Kemp's ridley sea turtles in the Hampton Roads region of Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic Ocean

Methods: Satellite, GPS, and acoustic telemetry tags

Performing Organizations: Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Foundation, CheloniData, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2013 through 2018

Funding: FY13 - $180K, FY14 - $195K, FY15 - $70k, FY16 - $183k, FY17 - $104K, FY18 - $0, FY19 - $21k

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas.

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur.

Final analysis in progress

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