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Marine Species Monitoring

Atlantic Region: Current Projects


 


Atlantic Fleet Training & Testing Monitoring Projects

 

The table below summarizes marine species monitoring projets being conducted in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in support of Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Marine Mammal Protection Act requirements (50 CFR Part 218).  Reports and data from these projects will be made available on the individual project profile pages and the Reading Room as they become available.

Project titles link directly to individual project profile pages with additional details and access to data and reports.


*Intermediate Scientific Objectives are established in coordination with NMFS through the Strategic Planning Process to help prioritize monitoring investments

Project Description Intermediate Scientific Objective* Status
Title: North Atlantic Right Whale Monitoring, Conservation, and Protection

Location: U.S. Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat use, and behavior of North Atlantic right whales in the mid-Atlantic region

Methods: Visual surveys, morphometrics, tagging, passive acoustics

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Duke University

Timeline: Ongoing

Funding: $500k+ annually

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Ongoing

Title: Distribution of Gulf Sturgeon in the Panama City Testing Range

Location: NSWC Panama City Testing Range

Objectives: Assess Gulf Sturgeon distribution and habitat use through a multi-phase biotelemetry approach

Methods: Passive acoustic telemetry, directed AUV surveys, and environmental monitoring

Performing Organizations: Delaware State University, University of Delaware

Timeline: 2021–2024

Funding: FY21 - $177K, FY22 - $149K

Estimate the distribution, abundance, and density of marine mammals and ESA-listed species in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing area

Establish the baseline habitat uses, seasonality, and movement patterns of marine mammals and ESA-listed species where Navy Occurrence training and testing activities occur

Ongoing

Title: Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog

Location: Northwest Atlantic

Objectives: Establish a centralized collaborative humpback whale photo-id catalog for the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions to support management and environmental planning

Methods: Photo identification

Performing Organizations: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Duke University

Timeline: 2017-2023

Funding: FY16 - $106k, FY17 - $74K, FY18 - $75K, FY21 - $31K, FY22 - $90K

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur.



Title: Pinniped Tagging and Tracking in Southeast Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Eastern Shore

Objectives: Document habitat use, movement and haul-out patterns of seals in the Hampton Roads region of Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic Ocean

Methods: Photo ID, tagging

Performing Organizations: Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Virginia Aquarium, The Nature Conservency, NAVFAC Atlantic, NUWC Newport, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2017-23

Funding: FY16 - $40K, FY17 - $170K, FY18 - $46K, FY19 - $468K, FY20 - $161K, FY21 - $79K, FY22 - $290K

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Tagging to resume in 2022

Title: Time-lapse Camera Surveys of Pinnipeds in Southeastern Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Eastern Shore

Objectives: Document seasonal occurrence, habitat use, and haul-out patterns of seals

Methods: Visual surveys

Performing Organizations: NAVFAC Atlantic, The Nature Conservancy

Timeline: 2019-2023

Funding: FY19 - $15k, FY20 - $18k, FY21 - $11k, FY22- $34k

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Data collection ongoing

Title: Haul-Out Counts and Photo-Identification of Pinnipeds in Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore of Virginia

Objectives: Document seasonal occurrence, habitat use, and haul-out patterns of seals

Methods: Visual surveys, photo ID

Performing Organizations: NAVFAC Atlantic, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries,The Nature Conservancy, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2014-2022

Funding: Funding: FY15 - $52K, FY16 - $36K, FY17 - $7K, FY18 - $29K, FY19 - $62K, FY20 - $60K, FY21 - $39K, FY22 - $93k

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Fieldwork ongoing

Title: Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Monitoring

Location: Nearshore Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess ocurrence, habitat use, and baseline behavior of humpback whales in the mid-Atlantic region

Methods: Visual surveys, focal follow observation, morphometrics, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2015-2023

Funding: FY14 - $320k, FY15 - $260k, FY16 - $370k, FY17 - $325k, FY19 - $248k, FY20 - $257k, FY21 - $320k, FY22 - $650k

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Ongoing

Title: Lower Kennebec River Sturgeon Monitoring

Location: Lower Kennebec River, including Bath Iron Works and Offshore Popham Beach

Objectives: Assess Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon seasonal occurrence, migration, and overwintering

Methods: Acoustic tagging (internal)

Performing Organizations: NUWC Newport (lead); collaborating: Maine Department of Marine Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, PSNY, University of Maine, University of Maryland

Timeline: 2021–TBD

Funding:

Establish the baseline habitat uses, seasonality, and movement patterns of marine mammals and ESA-listed species where Navy training and testing activities occur

Ongoing

Field work initiated May 2021
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