NOAA Offers Biological Opinion On Maryland’s Offshore Wind Project - The Fisherman

NOAA Offers Biological Opinion On Maryland’s Offshore Wind Project

NOAA Fisheries is issuing the final Biological Opinion on the proposed Maryland Offshore Wind project to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Biological Opinion considers the effects on threatened and endangered species of the construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of the project off the coast of Maryland with cable landfalls in Delaware.

NOAA Fisheries has concluded the proposed action is likely to adversely affect, but is not likely to jeopardize, the continued existence of any species of ESA listed whales, sea turtles, or fish. It is not anticipated to destroy or adversely modify any designated critical habitat. NOAA Fisheries does not anticipate serious injuries to or mortalities of any ESA listed whale including the North Atlantic right whale.

The proposed project includes a number of measures designed to minimize, monitor, and report effects to ESA listed species. Additional measures are included through the Biological Opinion’s Incidental Take Statement. With the incorporation of the proposed mitigation measures, all effects to North Atlantic right whales will be limited to temporary behavioral disturbance.

NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Protected Resources is also proposing to issue incidental take regulations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which we evaluated in the Biological Opinion. A number of other federal permits and authorizations associated with the Maryland Offshore Wind project are proposed and were analyzed in the Biological Opinion.

NOAA Fisheries will continue working closely with BOEM and other federal agencies to ensure the effects from the Maryland Offshore Wind offshore energy project to NOAA Fisheries’ trust resources are minimized.

The Biological Opinion will be available online upon publication in NOAA’s library on or around July 1.