URI, NOAA partnering to study how offshore wind impacts marine life

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center have signed a five-year partnership agreement to research how offshore wind developments will impact marine life. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center have signed a five-year partnership agreement to research how offshore wind developments will impact marine life. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center have signed a five-year partnership agreement to research how offshore wind developments will affect marine life.

The university, in its June 28 announcement, said the approach between URI and NOAA will look into understanding the relationships between fishing, the environment and the construction of offshore wind farms. The partnership will also help streamline NOAA’s capacity to tap into URI’s science, education and outreach resources, URI said. Such a capacity will help NOAA respond to pressing and shared marine resources issues connected to offshore wind development, the university said.

The university’s Coastal Resources Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the Coastal Institute are providing key support for the university in the partnership, URI said. As part of the agreement, an early project will create an integrated ecosystem assessment for the Gulf of Maine.

In a statement, URI Interim Vice President for Research and Academic Development Bethany Jenkins said integrating offshore wind energy “responsibly and resourcefully” into the crowded marine environments is a “priority issue for URI leadership.” NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center Director Jon Hare said in his statement he is “delighted” about the opportunity to “leverage our capabilities to better understand the interactions between offshore wind development and marine ecosystems.”

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James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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