Offshore Wind in the Northeast Region

This webpage is collaboratively managed by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils

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  Photo  by Dennis Schroeder/NREL, licensed under  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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 impact to the marine environment and the Councils managed resources and fisheries is considered.

The Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils, working with NOAA Fisheries, have collaboratively developed this wind 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.

Stay Informed

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

Development of offshore wind resources falls under the purview of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). There are several ways to engage in and stay informed about BOEM activities:

  • Offshore Wind Projects and Fishery Representatives/Liaisons: Offshore wind developers are required to have a fishery representative and liaison for each project. These individuals are responsible for engaging with and disseminating project information to the local fishing community, as well as other associated stakeholders that may be affected by the wind projects. Visit BOEM's Fishing Industry Communication and Engagement web page to find information about fishery liaisons and representatives for offshore wind projects in the Northeast.

  • State Activities: BOEM is working closely with the states and coordinates federal-state task forces. A summary of the status of activity in the different states can be found on BOEM's State Activities page.

  • Get Email Updates: To stay informed about offshore wind activities and public comment opportunities, sign up to receive email updates from BOEM .

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.

Click map to enlarge
Source: BOEM

Council Policies and Comment Letters on Offshore Wind

The Councils periodically provide comments on the potential impacts of proposed wind development activities on fisheries and fish habitat. Listed below are links to relevant comment letters and Council policies on offshore wind development.

Mid-Atlantic Council

New England Council

Offshore Wind Resources

The following section provides more detailed information about marine resources and fisheries in our region relative to wind activities and other ocean uses.

Project-specific Information on Fisheries and Marine Environment

South Fork Wind Energy Facility (off Rhode Island and Massachusetts)

On October 17, 2018 BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for Deepwater Wind South Fork LLCs 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 to allow stakeholders to formally provide feedback on the potential for development of new wind energy areas in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New York, an area referred to as the New York Bight. 

Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Mapper

This online mapping application provides resource managers and the public with an interactive platform for viewing a spatial representation of EFH, or those habitats that NOAA Fisheries and the Councils have identified and described as necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. Every year, NOAA Fisheries habitat experts advise federal agencies on projects, from port expansions to offshore energy development, including wind. A consultation is required whenever a federal agency, including the military, authorizes, funds, or undertakes an action (such as authorizing construction of a wind farm) in an area that will affect essential fish habitat. More information on the EFH consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries webpage.

Endangered Species and Critical Habitat

This online mapping application provides resource managers and the public with an interactive platform for identifying where endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat occurs 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 consultation with NOAA Fisheries to consider effects to ESA listed whales, sea turtles, and fish. More information on the ESA Section 7 consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries webpage.  

Regional Ocean Data Portals

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Ocean Data Portals 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.

Additional Resources

Contacts

 

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.