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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: Mid-Atlantic Autonomous Passive Acoustic Monitoring

Location: Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Monitor large whale occurrence in the mid-Atlantic

Methods: Autonomous real time passive acoustic monitoring

Performing Organizations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2019-ongoing

Funding: Funding: FY18- $211k, FY19- $213k, FY20- $357k, FY21- $139k, FY22 - $0, FY23 - $196K, FY24 - $210K

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 tagging, directed AUV surveys, and environmental monitoring

Performing Organizations: Delaware State University, University of Delaware

Timeline: 2021–2024

Funding: FY21 - $177K, FY22 - $149K, FY23 - $153K

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: Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon Monitoring in the Lower Kennebec River

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

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

Methods: Passive acoustic telemetry tagging

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

Timeline: 2021–2024

Funding: FY22 - $60k, FY23 - $103k

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
Title: Pinniped Monitoring in the Northeast

Location: Northeast U.S. (New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island)

Objectives: Document habitat use, haul-out patterns, and baseline behavior of seals

Methods: Telemetry tagging, visual surveys, remote time-lapse cameras

Performing Organizations: NUWC, AMSEAS, NMFS, MMoME

Timeline: 2020-2023

Funding: $365K

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

Baseline data collection ongoing

Title: Jacksonville Shallow Water Training Range Vessel Surveys

Location: Jacksonville Shallow Water Training Range (JSWTR)

Objectives: Monitor species composition and distribution on JSWTR, support M3R species verifications

Methods: Vessel visual surveys, biopsy sampling, satellite-linked tags, photo-ID, passive acoustics

Performing Organizations: Duke University, HDR Inc., Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Timeline: 2009-2018, 2020-ongoing

Funding: FY18 - $261K, FY19 - $60K, FY20 - $97K, FY21 - $253K, FY22 - $116K, FY23 - $279K, FY24 - $315K

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

Determine what populations of marine mammals are exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Ongoing

Visual species verifications and classifier development
Title: Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (AMAPPS)

Location: Northwest Atlantic (Maine to Florida)

Objectives: Assess the abundance, distribution, ecology, and behavior of marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds in U.S. Atlantic EEZ

Methods: Visual surveys, passive acoustic monitoring, tagging

Performing Organizations: NOAA Fisheries Northeast and Southeast Fishery Science Centers

Timeline: 2010-2024

Funding: $250k annually

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

Ongoing

AMAPS I (2010-2014), AMAPPS II (2015-2019), AMAPPS III (2020-2024)
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-ongoing

Funding: Funding: FY15 - $52K, FY16 - $36K, FY17 - $7K, FY18 - $29K, FY19 - $62K, FY20 - $60K, FY21 - $39K, FY22 - $93k, FY23 - $183K

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 Nearshore & Mid-shelf Baleen Whale Monitoring

Location: VACAPES Mid-Atlantic shelf

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

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

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc, Kimora Solutions, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2020-present

Funding: FY22 - $570K, FY23 - $1M

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

Support conservation and management of North Atlantic right whales

Ongoing

Expansion of previous humpback whale monitoring
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