Photo: BOEM

Atlantic Shores to track red knots off New Jersey

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, the developer holding an offshore wind lease off New Jersey, has launched a study on red knots, an endangered shore bird.

The developer plans to bid at the state’s next solicitation for offshore wind energy this year.

For the study on red knots, Atlantic Shores has partnered with Dr. Larry Niles of the New Jersey-based Wildlife Restoration Partnerships (WRP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and professional wildlife research organization Normandeau Associates.

“Red knots, a state endangered and federally threatened shore bird, migrate each year from as far south as Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, stopping in the Delaware Bay to feast on horseshoe crab eggs before going to the Canadian Arctic to breed. Atlantic Shores and its partners are assessing whether, on their annual return trip south, red knots fly off the coast of New Jersey”, Atlantic Shores explained.

WRP will now begin attaching satellite tags to 30 red knots as they stop in Brigantine Bay on their way south, which will allow a satellite to collect up to 60 pings of information on each bird’s precise location, flight path and varying altitude.

Data will be collected in near real-time and more comprehensively analyzed by researchers and Atlantic Shores over the coming months, the developer said.

Atlantic Shores will use the data to support the development of an offshore wind project within its lease area off the New Jersey coast and will also share the findings publicly to inform other researchers and offshore work.

The special purpose company is a 50:50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US, which holds development rights for an offshore wind zone located some 14 to 32 kilometres off the New Jersey coast, between Barnegat Light and Atlantic City, covering some 183,000 hectares.

Within the lease area, which has the potential to accommodate 2.5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity, the developer plans to build multiple projects over the next decade.

Site investigation and characterisation surveys have been under way since May and will continue through the autumn and winter.

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