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Belugas struggling in Cook Inlet, St. Lawrence rivers

August 2, 2016

Two troubling reports have surfaced regarding beluga whale populations in waters that have become increasingly industrialized and noisy in recent years.  In Quebec’s Saguenay River, the major river system draining into the St. Lawrence, recent years have seen a sharp uptick in dead beluga babies and pregnant mothers; in 2015, these sensitive individuals were half of […]

Cook Inlet seismic survey permits challenged in court

May 18, 2012

Permits issued by National Marine Fisheries Service to allow seismic surveys in Alaska’s Cook Inlet have been challenged in Federal Court.  Cook Inlet is home to a dwindling population of beluga whales (under 300), and the permits allow behavioral harassment of up to 30 belugas per year. In part, the challenge contends that this likely […]

Belugas continue to struggle in face of Cook Inlet development

January 12, 2012

NOAA Fisheries has released its latest annual estimate of the beluga population in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, and the numbers are sobering.  Their 2011 estimate, 286 animals, is the second-lowest found in the 18 years of surveys, and is 20% lower than last year’s count.  However, NOAA officials stress that year-to-year counts are approximate, with differences […]

Oil drilling begins in Cook Inlet, near beluga critical habitat

August 23, 2011

A drilling rig is up and running in Cook Inlet, along the southern Alaska coast.  The rig, which will remain in the Inlet for 8 or more years, drilling numerous wells during the short summer seasons, expects to complete this first oil and gas well by the end of October, well before ice develops.  Local environmental […]

NOAA sets beluga critical habitat, but says it won’t change Alaska’s urbanized Cook Inlet

December 2, 2009

NOAA has released its proposed critical habitat for the endangered Cooks Inlet beluga population: it includes the entire upper part of the inlet (which includes Anchorage and Wasilla), and a coastal stretch of the lower part of the inlet as well.  This isolated population of belugas experienced a population crash in the 1980’s which is […]

Cook Inlet Beluga Population Still Falling, as Construction Continues

October 8, 2009

The carefully-watched population of beluga whales in Alaska’s heavily-used Cook Inlet continued to shrink in the most recent counts, despite efforts to minimize the disruption of a major construction project underway at the Port of Anchorage.  This report from a local TV station gives a good quick overview, and this article in the Alaska Journal […]

More evidence that ship noise can have dramatic impacts on non-cetacean sea life

October 24, 2014

It used to be that most concern about human noise and ocean life was centered on whales and the two very loud sound sources: sonar and seismic surveys. But in recent years, we’ve seen a growing wave of studies looking at how chronic, moderate ship noise can interfere with normal behavior and development of other creatures, including squid, fish, crustaceans, and other “lower” species. Four more recent studies add to the list of known or suspected ways that shipping noise may be wreaking previously unsuspected havoc throughout the oceanic web of life.

Do negative expectations cause wind turbine health effects? (AEI analysis and commentary)

March 22, 2013

AEI lay summary of: Simon Chapman, Alexis St. George, Karen Waller.  2013. Spatio-temporal differences in the history of health and noise complaints about Australian wind farms: evidence for the psychogenic, “communicated disease” hypothesis. Download this paper (pdf) Crichton, F., Dodd, G., Schmid, G., Gamble, G., & Petrie, K. J. (2013, March 11). Can Expectations Produce […]

In-depth soundscape ecology study underway at Alaskan wildlife refuge

September 6, 2011

A really fascinating multi-year study is underway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge which sits on a peninsula along the south side of the Cook Inlet in Alaska (Anchorage and Wasilla are at the innermost tip of Cook Inlet).  Tim Mullet, a Ph.D. student at what looks like an amazing program at the Institute of […]

Studies assessing noise impacts of wave, tidal energy systems

June 10, 2011

An article in Renewable Energy World this month provides a great overview of ongoing research funded by the DOE that is assessing environmental impacts of “Marine and Hydrokinetic” energy technologies.  These new “MHK” systems include anything that generates electricity from the movement of water without dams, including systems that tap waves, tides, currents, or ocean […]

Many stranded dolphins are deaf, but don’t jump to noise conclusions…

December 3, 2010

AEI lay summary of this recently published scientific paper (download paper): Mann D, Hill-Cook M, Manire C, Greenhow D, Montie E, et al. (2010) Hearing Loss in Stranded Odontocete Dolphins and Whales. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13824. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013824 This paper generated a wave of press coverage upon release, most of it suggesting that the research found […]

Bias in Military (or Conservation) Funded Ocean Noise Research

December 5, 2009

(this item first appeared in AEI’s lay summaries of new research) Wade, Whitehead, Weilgart. Conflict of interest in research on anthropogenic noise and marine mammals: Does funding bias conclusions? Marine Policy 34 (2010) 320-327. In the United States, the US Navy funds about 70% of the research into the effects of ocean noise on wildlife […]

Marine Mammal Commission Report on Population Viability and Budgetary Priorities for Recovery of Engangered Marine Mammals

June 16, 2008

The Biological Viability of the Most Endangered Marine Mammals and the Cost-effectiveness of Protection Programs. A Report to Congress from teh Marine Mammal Commission. February 2008. [DOWNLOAD REPORT (pdf)] This 400+ page report is the culmination of a multi-year initiative by the MMC. It includes about 60 pages of summation, followed by several lenghty appendixes, the […]