NOAA Fisheries has opened a 30-day public comment period on the proposed incidental take regulations related to Dominion Energy’s CVOW-C Project.
The project would be located offshore of Virginia within the Virginia Wind Energy Area and would provide 2,500-3,000 megawatts of power to Virginia.
Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, these proposed regulations would govern the “take,” of small numbers of marine mammals exposed to elevated underwater noise generated by Dominion Energy’s activities over a five-year period.
No marine mammal mortality or serious injury is expected or proposed to be authorized.
Therefore, NOAA Fisheries has preliminarily determined authorizing the requested take regulations would have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species and stocks.
The proposed regulations include mandatory mitigation measures such as seasonal restrictions, use of sound attenuation devices, soft starts and ramp-ups, visual and acoustic monitoring, and implementation of clearance and shut down zones.
These mitigation measures are expected to minimize both the probability and severity of impacts to all marine mammals and their habitats, including North Atlantic right whales. The proposed regulations also include monitoring and reporting requirements to better understand those impacts.
The public comment period on the proposed regulations will be open for 30 days (May 4 – June 5, 2023). Documents associated with this proposed action, including information on how to submit a public comment, are available on the NOAA website.
This regulatory action is part of NOAA’s ongoing work to ensure the nation’s deployment of offshore wind energy is done in a manner that avoids and minimizes impacts to protected resources and their habitats.