The data sets provided here were generated as part of the Ocean/Wind Power Baseline Ecological Studies. The full report for this study is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/dsr/ocean-wind/report.htm. The Executive Summary from this report is included below, and gives a good overview of the objectives of the project, but users of these data are encouraged to read the report to gain a full understanding of the project details.
All of the data generated during the project were delivered in one geo-database which included 12 separate feature datasets, as well as 14 raster layers. These data sets were used in the analysis described in the report. Each of the feature classes and rasters is displayed in a separate map included in the report. Because of the large size of this single geo-database, it was split up into several separate datasets to make all of the data available through the data download page. To accomplish this, an empty geo-database with the same parameters as the parent geo-database was created for each feature dataset. Each data set, with all of the separate feature classes and metadata records, was loaded into the appropriate blank geo-database. Once loaded, the new geo-database was then compressed using WinZip, with the zip files available here. In the case of the rasters, three blank geo-databases were created, and rasters of similar type were loaded in the appropriate geo-database. These raster geo-database were then also compressed using WinZip.
Once downloaded and extracted, each geo-database can be used as a stand-alone database. A blank project geo-database has also been provided, which allows users to re-create the complete data set as delivered to NJDEP with the report. Once each separate feature geo-database is extracted, the feature datasets can simply be copied from the individual geo-databases into the project geo-database. The rasters can be added to the project geo-database by using the LOAD command. Again, however, all of the data can be accessed from the separate feature and raster geo-databases provided.
Ocean/Wind Power Baseline Ecological Studies: Executive Summary
The State of New Jersey is committed to finding long-term energy solutions and is pursuing alternative energy options. Offshore wind may provide a solution to New Jersey's long-term energy needs. There are limited data and information on the natural resources and their environment occurring in New Jersey's offshore waters, specifically the region being considered for wind turbine development. Geo-Marine, Inc, (GMI) was contracted to conduct a scientific baseline study by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Office of Science to fill major data gaps for birds, sea turtles, marine mammals, and other natural resources and their environments found in the Study Area.
The objective of this study was to conduct baseline studies in waters off New Jersey's coast to determine the current distribution and usage of this area by ecological resources. The goal was to provide GIS and digital spatial and temporal data on various species utilizing these offshore waters to assist in determining potential areas for offshore wind power development. The scope of work includes the collection of data on the distribution, abundance and migratory patterns of avian, marine mammal, sea turtle and other species in the study area over a 24-month period. These data, as well as existing (historical) data, were compiled and entered into digital format and geographic information system (GIS)-compatible electronic files. Those portions of the study area that are more or less suitable for wind/alternative energy power facilities were determined based on potential ecological impact using predictive modeling, mapping, and environmental assessment methodologies.
Field studies were initiated in January 2008 and continued through December 2009. Data for avian abundance, distribution, and behavior were collected by shipboard surveys (offshore and coastal), aerial surveys, radar surveys (offshore and coastal), Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD)and Thermal Imaging–Vertically Pointing Radar (TI-VPR) studies, and supplemental surveys (shoal surveys and sea watch) were conducted over the 24-month period. Marine mammal and sea turtle data were collected via shipboard surveys, aerial surveys, and passive acoustic monitoring to assess the distribution, abundance, and presence of marine mammal and sea turtle species in the Study Area. Detailed information on the methods, data analyses, and results from these field studies is included in this document. In addition, a thorough review of fish and fisheries resources of the Study Area was conducted, which includes an overview of the ichthyofauna (including fish species designated with essential fish habitat [EFH]) of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and the Study Area and the ancillary fishes observed during the shipboard and aerial surveys. A description of the federal- and state-level fishery management is presented for commercial and recreational fisheries, and the results of New Jersey fisheries independent bottom trawl data analyses are discussed.
In addition to the data collected on biotic resources, physical parameters within the Study Area were measured, including wind speeds, water temperature, salinity, depth, chlorophyll, and dissolved organic matter. Extensive literature searches were also conducted on climate, currents and circulation patterns, and other important physiographic components in effort to characterize the Study Area and gain understanding of the relationships between the physical and biological
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November 5, 2015