Technical Report

Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA): Seabirds and marine mammals off northern CA, OR, and WA

Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF


Attribute NameValues
  • Interest has increased in developing renewable energy sources to reduce U. S. dependence on oil. Policy makers and resource managers now are considering power generation technologies proposed for development along the Continental Shelf of the U. S. Pacific coast beyond state waters. This region supports abundant populations of seabirds and marine mammals, but comprehensive, multi-seasonal aerial surveys were last conducted two decades ago. Marine spatial planning, including potential site selection for offshore energy development, requires the description and quantification of recent species-specific and community distribution patterns. To relate patterns of seabird abundance to physical and biological characteristics of ocean habitats, we conducted low-elevation aerial seabird surveys during January-February, June-July, and October 2011 & 2012 along parallel strip-transects spanning continental shelf and slope waters from Fort Bragg, CA to Gray’s Harbor, WA. Although effort focused on Federal Waters outside of the 3-nautical mile state boundary, surveys included inshore waters to allow comparisons both within and adjacent to potential renewable energy developments. In the past, environmental analyses of aerial seabird surveys have relied on satellite-derived products of ocean optical properties that are coarse in scale or temporally averaged to produce better spatial coverage. Therefore, in addition to aerial pyrometry to measure sea-surface temperature, we installed an on-board hyperspectral radiometer to collect remotely-sensed reflectance simultaneously with species observations. Herein, we discuss survey methods and describe inter-seasonal trends in abundance and distribution of marine birds and variability in the ocean environment, and introduce aerial hyperspectral radiometry as a potential tool for delineating fine-scale ocean habitat features (fronts and water masses) based on ocean color.
  • KEYWORDS: Marine mammals, Receptors, Seabirds, Marine renewable energy, Wave energy, Wind energy
Resource Type
Date Available
Date Issued
  • Adams, J. et al. 2012. Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA): Seabirds and marine mammals off northern CA, OR, and WA. In: Boehlert, G., C. Braby, A. S. Bull, M. E. Helix, S. Henkel, P. Klarin, and D. Schroeder, eds. 2013. Oregon Marine Renewable Energy Environmental Science Conference Proceedings. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Cooperative Agreement with Oregon State University M12AC00012. OCS Report BOEM 2013-0113. 149 pp.
Non-Academic Affiliation
Rights Statement
Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
  • U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Peer Reviewed



This work has no parents.

In Collection: