Marine Wildlife Plan Preparation & Onboard Monitoring

Various Marine Geophysical Surveys, Offshore California

Project Name: Various Marine Geophysical Surveys, Offshore California
Services: Marine Wildlife Contingency Plans and Onboard Monitoring
Client: Fugro Consultants, Inc.

Marine geophysical surveys completed within the California state waters (shoreward of the 3-mile limit) require a permit issued by the California State Lands Commission. A condition on that permit is that a project-specific Marine Wildlife Contingency Plan (MWCP) is prepared and onboard monitoring occurs during all such surveys. Padre has completed over 20 MWCPs for Fugro Consultants’ surveys throughout coastal California. The MWCPs specify mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate potential noise- and vessel-related effects to marine mammals and turtles and describe onboard monitoring and reporting methods that will be used during the survey.
In addition to preparing the MWCP, Padre’s NOAA-qualified marine wildlife observers are onboard the survey vessel recording mammal and turtle sightings and assuring that potential impacts are avoided. Padre has completed these plans and provided monitoring services for Fugro projects that ranged from one-day bathymetry surveys to multi-week low-energy geophysical data collection efforts. Fugro’s clients for these projects have included Pacific Gas & Electric Company, ExxonMobil, Beta Offshore, Chevron, Venoco, Pacific Offshore Operators, U.S. Navy, and ARCO.

AT&T Asia-America Fiber Optic Cable, Morro Bay, California

Project Name: AT&T Asia-America Fiber Optic Cable, Morro Bay, California
Services: Environmental Documentation and On-Site Monitoring
Client: California State Lands Commission

In addition to preparing the Environmental Impact Report for the installation of a fiber optic cable that originated in Asia and terminated near Morro Bay, Padre marine and terrestrial biologists were responsible for third-party monitoring representing the California State Lands Commission (CSLC). Padre marine scientists were onboard the fiber optic cable vessel during the 63 days of installation where they were responsible for assuring marine wildlife and vessel operation-related mitigations were adhered to. Daily and weekly reports that documented compliance or non-compliance were prepared and submitted to CSLC management. Onshore, Padre’s biologists monitored trenching and cable installation activities focusing on assuring that potential impacts to streams, sensitive oak trees, and wetland habitats were minimized in accordance with permit conditions.

Power Cable Repair and Replacement, Santa Barbara Channel, California

Project Name: Power Cable Repair and Replacement, Santa Barbara Channel, California
Services: Environmental Permitting and Monitoring Services
Client: Pacific Offshore Operators, Inc.

Following the discovery of damage to an existing submarine power cable, Pacific Offshore Operators retained Padre to obtain emergency permits to authorize the repair and replacement of approximately 2,400 ft of cable within Santa Barbara Channel. Padre’s environmental specialists also worked directly with the regulatory and resource agencies to develop a monitoring plan, including the observation and reporting protocols that focused on the documentation of marine operations, oil spill prevention, and marine mammal and bird mitigation compliance. Throughout the 23-day construction period, Padre provided onboard observers who recorded observations and interacted with the construction contractor’s manager on barge anchoring and cable recovery methods. Following the completion of the repairs, Padre prepared and submitted a mitigation report that summarized observations and assessed the efficacy of mitigations.