US Navy

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Marine Species Monitoring

 

Pacific Region: Current Projects



Hawaii-Southern California Training & Testing Monitoring Projects

The table below summarizes current marine species monitoring projects being conducted in the Pacific Ocean in support of Hawaii-Southern California Training & Testing (HSTT) 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.

Southern California Range Complex (SOCAL)
Hawaii Range Complex (HRC)


Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area Monitoring Projects

The table below summarizes current marine species monitoring projects being conducted in the Pacific Ocean in support of Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area (GOA TMAA) 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.

Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area (GOA TMAA)



Project Description Intermediate Scientific Objective* Status
Title: North Pacific Humpback Whale Tagging

Location: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska

Objectives: Determine the occurrence, movement patterns, and residency patterns of multiple humpback whale Distinct Population Segments within Pacific Ocean Navy Range Complexes

Methods: Long-term satellite tracking, biopsy sampling, photo-identification

Performing Organizations: Oregon State University

Timeline: 2016-2020

Funding: FY17 $483k; FY18 $139k; FY19 $215k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas.

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

Evaluate potential exposure of marine mammals and ESA-listed species to Navy training and testing activities.

Current

Final fieldwork 2019, reporting completed by 2021
Title: Offshore Distribution of Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Pacific Northwest

Location: Washington (Northwest Training Range Complex, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Range Complex)

Objectives: 1) Identify and classify Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) detections from acoustic recorders and satellite tag tracking; 2) Develop a model to estimate the seasonal and annual occurrence patterns of southern resident killer whales relative to offshore Navy training ranges. 3) Characterize occurrence of anthropogenic sounds in potential SRKW habitat. 4) Develop state space habitat model for SRKW prey, based on fall Chinook salmon tagged released from California to British Columbia between 1977 and 1990 to estimate seasonal distribution along the west coast.

Methods: Passive acoustic monitoring, model development, visual survey, satellite tagging, analysis of archived data

Performing Organizations: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Timeline: 2014-2021

Funding: FY14 $439K; FY15 $426K; FY16 $369K; FY17 $247K; FY21 planned

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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 areas.

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

Evaluate potential exposure of marine mammals and ESA-listed species to Navy training and testing activities

Establish the regional baseline vocalization behavior, including seasonality and acoustic characteristics) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Continuing

Title: Characterizing the distribution of ESA listed salmonids in relation to Southern Resident Killer Whale distribution

Location: Washington

Objectives: To use a combination of acoustic and pop-up satellite tagging technology to provide critical information on spatial and temporal distribution of salmonids to inform salmon management, U.S. Navy training activities, and SRKW conservation. The study seeks to 1) determine the occurrence and timing of salmonids within the Navy training ranges 2) describe the influence of environmental covariates on salmonid occurrence; and 3) describe the occurrence of salmonids in relation to Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) distribution.

Methods: Acoustic telemetry (pinger tags) and pop-up satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Timeline: 2018-2022

Funding: FY18 $631K; FY19 $591K; FY20 $238K; FY21 planned

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas.

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 areas.

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

Continuing

Title: Acoustic Tagging of Green Sturgeon to Evaluate Habitat Use Along the Washington Coast

Location: Washington (Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay)

Objectives: With acoustic telemetry, determine 1) the location of green sturgeon detections within Washington, 2) the season for specific habitat use (e.g., estuaries; coastal waters), 3) the frequency an animal moves between coastal and estuarine waters, and 4) the range of each tagged animal.

Methods: Acoustic telemetry (pinger tagging)

Performing Organizations: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Timeline: 2020-2022

Funding: FY20 $158k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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 areas

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

Continuing

Beginning 2020
Title: Satellite Tagging and Behavioral Monitoring of Male California Sea Lions in the Pacific Northwest to Assess Haul-out Behavior on Puget Sound Navy Facilities and Foraging Behavior in Marine Navy Testing and Training Areas

Location: Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Naval Station Everett

Objectives: To determine the abundance and habitat use of California sea lions that haul out at Navy facilities and forage in testing and training areas

Methods: Satellite and depth tags

Performing Organizations: Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Washington Department of Marine Fisheries Service

Timeline: 2013-2016

Funding:

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas.

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 areas

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

Completed

Title: Aerial Surveys of Marine Mammals Conducted in the Inland Puget Sound Waters of Washington, summer 2013 – winter 2016

Location: Northwest Training Range Complex, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Range Complex, Puget Sound Washington

Objectives: 1) Conduct aerial surveys during four seasonal periods within the inland Puget Sound Survey Area to assess potential differences in seasonal distribution, numbers, and behavioral state patterns of marine mammals; 2) Collect data to estimate densities of marine mammals in the inland Puget Sound waters for species with sufficient sightings; 3) Estimate abundance for each marine mammal species seen an adequate number of times; 4) Document the distribution and habitat use of each species observed; 5) Document and describe behaviors seen without performing focal follows.

Methods: Aerial visual survey

Performing Organizations: Smultea Environmental Sciences

Timeline: 2013-2017

Funding:

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas.

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 areas

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

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

Completed

Title: Occurrence of Green Sturgeon in Inland Waters (historical tag analysis)

Location: Washington

Objectives: Compile green sturgeon tag and receiver data and analyze historical data for occurrence, distribution, and seasonality in Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca

Methods: Analysis of archived acoustic telemetry (pinger tags)

Performing Organizations: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Timeline: 2020-2021

Funding: FY20 $33k

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 areas

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

Current

begins 2020
Title: Coral survey at Farallon de Medinilla

Location: Farallon de Medinilla (FDM)

Objectives: Assess presence and status of ESA-listed corals at FDM

Methods: Geo-referenced dive survey, visual survey

Performing Organizations: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Expeditionary Warfare Center, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific formerly SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific

Timeline: 2017, 2022 (every 5 years)

Funding: FY17 $255K; FY21 $299K

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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 areas

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

Continuing

Survey performed in 2017, next survey planned for 2021/22
Title: Small vessel visual surveys in the Mariana Islands Range Complex

Location: Guam and southern CNMI (Tinian, Saipan, Rota, Aguijan)

Objectives: Identify species of beaked whales, odontocetes, and baleen whales that occur in the Mariana Islands; Monitor marine mammal and sea turtle presence, distribution, and diversity in nearshore waters during key seasons (summer and winter); Develop a better understanding of marine mammal distribution, movement patterns, habitat use, population structure, and abundance; Develop reference library of visually-validated acoustic recordings of marine mammals.

Methods: Visual surveys (nearshore small vessel winter and summer season), photo-identification (develop catalogs for multiple cetacean species), biopsy and genetic analysis, satellite tagging, opportunistic acoustic recording during sightings

Performing Organizations: National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Cetacean Research Program

Timeline: 2010-2019

Funding: FY14 $458k; FY15 $495k; FY16 $489k; FY17 $352k; FY18 $307k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

Evaluate potential exposure of marine mammals and ESA-listed species to Navy training and testing activities

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

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

Establish the regional baseline vocalization behavior, including seasonality and acoustic characteristics) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Application of passive acoustic tools and techniques for detecting, classifying, locating, and tracking marine mammals



Completed
Title: Pilot survey for humpback whales at Farallon de Medinilla

Location: Farallon de Medinilla (FDM)

Objectives: The goal of the visual surveys is to collect individually-identifying information from humpback whales present near and around Farallon de Medinilla (FDM)

Methods: Visual survey, photo identification

Performing Organizations: NAVFAC Pacific, HDR Inc., PIFSC NOAA

Timeline: 2019-2020

Funding: FY19 $87.5k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

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

current

survey complete, reporting in progress
Title: Pilot study for shore based humpback surveys in Saipan

Location: Saipan

Objectives: Humpback whale nearshore distribution in nearshore Saipan waters

Methods: Combined shore based surveys for humpbacks with rapid small boat responses to sightings for satellite tagging, biopsy and photo-identification

Performing Organizations: National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Cetacean Research Program

Timeline: 2015

Funding: FY15 $67k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

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

Establish the baseline vocalization behavior of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Completed

Title: Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Marine Mammals Using Gliders in Marianas

Location: Guam, CNMI

Objectives: Identify acoustically distinct species of beaked whales, odontocetes, and baleen whales that occur in the Mariana Islands; develop a better understanding of marine mammal distribution, habitat use, and abundance

Methods: Passive acoustic monitoring on underwater gliders

Performing Organizations: HDR, Oregon State University, University of Washington

Timeline: 2014-2016

Funding: FY13 $397k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

Establish the baseline vocalization behavior of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Completed

Title: Pacific Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (PACMAPPS) survey

Location: Mariana Island archipelago, Hawaiian Islands archipelago, California-Oregon-Washington

Objectives: Identify species of beaked whales, odontocetes, and baleen whales that occur in the surveyed areas; Monitor marine mammal and sea turtle presence, distribution, and diversity in offshore waters; Develop a better understanding of marine mammal distribution, movement patterns, habitat use, population structure, and abundance; Develop reference library of visually-validated acoustic recordings of marine mammals.

Methods: Visual surveys, photo-identification, biopsy and genetic analysis, satellite tagging, opportunistic acoustic recording during sightings

Performing Organizations: National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Timeline: 2017-2021

Funding: FY17 $183k; FY18 $164k+$265k; FY21 $533k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

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

Establish the regional baseline vocalization behavior, including seasonality and acoustic characteristics) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Application of passive acoustic tools and techniques for detecting, classifying, locating, and tracking marine mammals

Continuing

Marianas 2021
Title: Mariana Islands Sea Turtle and Cetacean Survey (MISTICS)

Location: Mariana Island Chain offshore

Objectives: Determine what species of marine mammals and sea turtles are present and estimate abundance.

Methods: visual survey, photo identification

Performing Organizations: U.S. Navy NAVFAC Pacific, HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2007

Funding: $4.5M

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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 areas

Completed

Title: Pacific Islands comprehensive stranding investigations

Location: Hawaii, Guam, CNMI

Objectives: Conduct comprehensive investigations of stranded marine mammals throughout the Pacific Islands with emphasis on the Hawaiian and Mariana Island chains. This includes conducting necropsies of stranded animals, collecting and archiving samples, conducting disease screening, genetic testing, and analysis of historical data. The objective is to examine stranding patterns and causes of death for marine mammals in the Pacific Islands.

Methods: necropsy, disease screening, genetic testing

Performing Organizations: University of Hawaii Stranding Laboratory

Timeline: 2018-2023

Funding: FY18 $118k, FY20 $324k; FY21 TBD

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

Continuing

Title: Sea turtle tagging in the Mariana Islands Range Complex

Location: Guam, Tinian, Saipan

Objectives: Develop a better understanding of sea turtle distribution and habitat use in the Mariana Islands, particularly in relation to locations used by the Navy for underwater detonation training

Methods: Sea turtle satellite tagging, habitat use analysis of tag data, historical analysis

Performing Organizations: National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Marine Turtle Biology and Assessment Program

Timeline: 2013-2022

Funding: FY13 $99K, FY14 $120K, FY15 $200K, FY16 $193K, FY17 $180K FY18 $218K

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

Evaluate potential exposure of marine mammals and ESA-listed species to Navy training and testing activities

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

Continuing

final field season in 2021, final reporting in 2022
Title: Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Blue Whale, and Fin Whale Impact Assessments at Non-Instrumented Range Locations in the SOCAL Range Complex

Location: Southern California

Objectives: Further our understanding of the Monitoring Questions: What, if any, are the short term behavioral and/or vocal responses when exposed to sonar or explosions at different levels or conditions? Does exposure to sonar or explosives impact the long term fitness and survival of individuals or the population, species or stock? (with focus on blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, and other regional beaked whale species)

Methods: PAM, satellite tagging, Photo-ID, visual survey

Performing Organizations: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Timeline: 2014-2016

Funding: $300,000 - $600,000

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

Establish the regional baseline vocalization behavior, including seasonality and acoustic characteristics) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur 

Determine what behaviors can most effectively be assessed for potential response to Navy training and testing activities

Application of passive acoustic tools and techniques for detecting, classifying, and tracking marine mammals   

Evaluate behavioral responses of marine mammals exposed to Navy training and testing activities to support PCoD development 

Leverage existing data with newly developed analysis tools and techniques



Title: Marine mammal sightings during CalCOFI cruises

Location: Southern California

Objectives: Further our understanding of the Monitoring Question: "What is the seasonal occurrence and density of cetaceans within the Navy's Southern California Range Complex?"

Methods: Visual survey (CALCOFI)

Performing Organizations: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Timeline: 2004-2018

Funding: $100,000 - $130,000

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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



Title: Blue And Fin Whale Satellite Tagging

Location: Southern California

Objectives: Further our understanding of the Monitoring Question: What are the occurrence, movement patterns, and residency patterns of blue and fin whales within Navy U.S West Coast at-sea ranges as compared to the rest of their distribution throughout the Pacific Ocean? Methods: Satellite tagging, photo-ID, biopsy, visual survey

Methods: Satellite tagging, photo-ID, biopsy, visual survey

Performing Organizations: Oregon State University

Timeline: 2014-2017

Funding: $600,000-$1,000,000

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and ESA-listed species are present in Navy range complexes, testing ranges, and in specific training and testing areas

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

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



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