Offshore Wind in the Northeast Region
This webpage is collaboratively managed by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils
There is growing interest in the development of offshore wind energy resources in the Northeast. The Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils are working with NOAA Fisheries to provide input on wind development activities in our region to ensure the impacts to the marine environment and the Councils’ managed resources and fisheries are considered.
The Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils, working with NOAA Fisheries, collaboratively developed this page to link to information and resources that may be relevant to wind planning discussions. This page also provides information related to the Councils' involvement in, and comments on, wind energy development activities, as well as resources for its stakeholders.
Notices to Fishermen
As developers provide the Councils with information regarding offshore surveys, buoy installations, and other activities that may occur in areas used by fishermen, those notices will be posted at http://www.mafmc.org/offshore-wind-notices.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
Development of offshore wind resources falls under the purview of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Visit the pages linked below to engage in and stay informed about BOEM activities.
BOEM Fishing Industry Communication and Engagement Web Page - information about fishery liaisons and representatives for offshore wind projects in the Northeast
Council Engagement on Offshore Wind
To the extent practicable, the Councils comment directly to BOEM on specific offshore wind projects. In addition, Council staff are members of NMFS offshore wind coordination team.
Joint Comment Letters
New England Council
Wind Developer Information and Projects
Northeast Wind Developers
Visit the wind developer websites listed below for information about specific projects in the Northeast region. BOEM's Renewable Energy Leases Map Book provides details about the locations of active commercial and research leases.
New York/New Jersey energy transmission line: On June 17, 2019, BOEM announced a request for competitive interest and public comments on the development of a New York/New Jersey energy transmission line to deliver offshore wind energy to the onshore electric grid. See the comments submitted by both Councils through letters dated 7/15/19 (MAFMC) and 7/17/19 (NEFMC) in the “Council Engagement” section above.
Vineyard Wind Energy Facility (off Massachusetts): On December 7, 2018 BOEM published a Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Vineyard Wind’s proposed wind energy facility. See the comments submitted by both Councils through a joint letter dated 1/22/19 in the “Council Engagement” section above.
South Fork Wind Energy Facility (off Rhode Island and Massachusetts): On October 17, 2018 BOEM published a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Deepwater Wind South Fork LLC’s proposed wind energy facility.
New York Bight Call for Information: On April 11, 2018 BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations, launching a public comment period on the potential for development of new wind energy areas off the coast of New York.
NOAA Fisheries response to New York Bight Call for Information (6/7/18) - provides detailed information that describes considerations related to fisheries and the marine environment.
BOEM Draft Wind Energy Areas in the NY Bight - after reviewing the comments received in response to the Call for Information and Nominations, BOEM delineated draft Wind Energy Areas in the New York Bight. As of July 2019, final Wind Energy Areas have yet to be announced.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Federal and state agencies, fishing industry members and fishery managers, and wind developers have established various mechanisms by which to coordinate and promote the coexistence of fisheries and offshore wind farms.
Responsible Offshore Development Alliance
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) is a broad membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies with an interest in improving the compatibility of new offshore development with their businesses. It endeavors, through collaborations with NOAA Fisheries and other partners, to coordinate science and policy approaches to managing development of the Outer Continental Shelf in a way that minimizes conflicts with existing traditional and historical fishing. In March 2019, NOAA Fisheries and BOEM signed a 10 year Memorandum of Understanding with RODA.
Responsible Offshore Science Alliance
The Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA) is an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing for and advancing regional research and monitoring of fisheries and offshore wind interactions in federal waters through collaboration and cooperation in order to: (a) Increase salient and credible data on fisheries and wind development; and (b) increase the understanding of the effects of wind energy development on fisheries and the ocean ecosystems on which they depend.
Information and Resources
NOAA Fisheries Habitat and Protected Resources Mapping Applications
The Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Mapper is an interactive platform for viewing maps of habitats identified as necessary to managed fish species for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. An EFH consultation with NOAA Fisheries is required whenever a federal agency authorizes, funds, or undertakes an action (such as authorizing construction of a wind farm) in an area that will affect EFH. More information on the EFH consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries web page.
The Protected Resources: Section 7 Mapper is an interactive platform for identifying where endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat occur within the Greater Atlantic Region. All federal actions that may affect a species or critical habitat listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) must undergo a consultation between the lead federal agency and NOAA Fisheries or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, depending on the species. All offshore wind activities are likely to require an ESA consultation with NOAA Fisheries. More information on the ESA Section 7 consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries web page.
Regional Ocean Data Portals
The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal and Northeast Ocean Data Portal are online resources that consolidate available data to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitat areas, and energy sites, among others.
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducts and funds Research & Development activities related to offshore wind energy, through its Wind Energy Technology Office. To stay informed about wind energy activities and public comment opportunities, sign up to receive email updates from the DOE. Visit the pages linked below to learn more.
Additional Documents and Resources
BOEM Report on Best Management Practices and Mitigation Measures to Address Potential Use Conflicts between Commercial Wind Energy Lessees/Grantees and Commercial Fishermen on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf
Mid-Atlantic Council: Julia Beaty, firstname.lastname@example.org, (302) 526-5250
New England Council: Michelle Bachman, email@example.com, (978) 465-0492 ext. 120
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office: Sue Tuxbury, firstname.lastname@example.org, (978) 281-9176
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center: Andy Lipsky, email@example.com, (401) 829-8286
Disclaimer: Many of the links on this page lead to external websites not managed by the Mid-Atlantic or New England Council. We have made every effort to ensure that the resources listed on this page are relevant and up-to-date. However, the Councils cannot guarantee the accuracy of information provided on non-Council websites. References to external websites do not constitute endorsement or recommendation by either Council. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the staff members listed at the bottom of this page.