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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: 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: 2016-2024

Funding: FY16 - $645k, FY18 - $322k, FY19 - $357k, FY20 - $371k, FY21 - $430k, FY22 - $530k, FY23 - $435K

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

Ongoing

Primary focus shifted to sperm whale feeding ecology focus in 2020
Title: Mid-Atlantic Nearshore & Mid-shelf Baleen Whale Monitoring

Location: VACAPES Mid-Atlantic shelf

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

Methods: Visual surveys, focal follow observation, morphometrics, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc, Kimora Solutions, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2020-present

Funding: FY22 - $570K, FY23 - $1M

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

Support conservation and management of North Atlantic right whales

Ongoing

Expansion of previous humpback whale monitoring
Title: North Atlantic Right Whale Monitoring, Conservation, and Protection

Location: U.S. Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat use, and behavior of North Atlantic right whales in the mid-Atlantic region

Methods: Visual surveys, morphometrics, tagging, passive acoustics

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Duke University

Timeline: Ongoing

Funding: $500k+ annually

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

Ongoing

Title: Mid-Atlantic Autonomous Passive Acoustic Monitoring

Location: Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Monitor large whale occurrence in the mid-Atlantic

Methods: Autonomous real time passive acoustic monitoring

Performing Organizations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2019-ongoing

Funding: Funding: FY18- $211k, FY19- $213k, FY20- $357k, FY21- $139k, FY22 - $0, FY23 - $196K, FY24 - $210K

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

Ongoing

Title: Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon Monitoring in the Lower Kennebec River

Location: Lower Kennebec River, including Bath Iron Works and Offshore Popham Beach

Objectives: Assess Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon seasonal occurrence, migration, and overwintering

Methods: Passive acoustic telemetry tagging

Performing Organizations: NUWC Newport (lead); collaborating: Maine Department of Marine Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, PSNY, University of Maine, University of Maryland

Timeline: 2021–2024

Funding: FY22 - $60K, FY23 - $103K, FY24 - $68K

Establish the baseline habitat uses, seasonality, and movement patterns of marine mammals and ESA-listed species where Navy training and testing activities occur

Data collection in progress

Title: Distribution of Gulf Sturgeon in the Panama City Testing Range

Location: NSWC Panama City Testing Range

Objectives: Assess Gulf Sturgeon distribution and habitat use through a multi-phase biotelemetry approach

Methods: Passive acoustic telemetry tagging, directed AUV surveys, and environmental monitoring

Performing Organizations: Delaware State University, University of Delaware

Timeline: 2021–2024

Funding: FY21 - $177K, FY22 - $149K, FY23 - $152K

Estimate the distribution, abundance, and density of marine mammals and ESA-listed species in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing area

Establish the baseline habitat uses, seasonality, and movement patterns of marine mammals and ESA-listed species where Navy Occurrence training and testing activities occur

Data collection complete

Final analysis in progress
Title: Pinniped Monitoring in the Northeast

Location: Northeast U.S. (New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island)

Objectives: Document habitat use, haul-out patterns, and baseline behavior of seals

Methods: Telemetry tagging, visual surveys, remote time-lapse cameras

Performing Organizations: NUWC, AMSEAS, NMFS, MMoME

Timeline: 2020-2023

Funding: $365K

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

Baseline data collection ongoing

Title: Jacksonville Shallow Water Training Range Vessel Surveys

Location: Jacksonville Shallow Water Training Range (JSWTR)

Objectives: Monitor species composition and distribution on JSWTR, support M3R species verifications

Methods: Vessel visual surveys, biopsy sampling, satellite-linked tags, photo-ID, passive acoustics

Performing Organizations: Duke University, HDR Inc., Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Timeline: 2009-2018, 2020-ongoing

Funding: FY18 - $261K, FY19 - $60K, FY20 - $97K, FY21 - $253K, FY22 - $116K, FY23 - $279K, FY24 - $315K

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

Determine what populations of marine mammals are exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Ongoing

Visual species verifications and classifier development
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