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Wisconsin Country Implements Strict Noise Regulations on Wind Turbines; Company Declares “War to End All Wars”

Health, Human impacts, News No Comments »

Calumet County, in eastern Wisonsin, recently faced a dilemma that is increasingly common in rural America: an outside company had appeared in their region, planning to build wind farms and seeking permits. Many local governmental bodies have taken a cursory look at complex reports submitted by companies, taken assurances of “no noise” at face value, and later regretted not learning more. The Calumet County Board of Supervisors took two years to consider the issue, and in March instituted a carefully considered ordinance to govern wind farm development that is exceedingly (perhaps even excessively) weighted toward protection of local residents from noise impacts. Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Turbine Syndrome: Can Wind Farms Make People Sick?

Health, Human impacts, News No Comments »

While reports of nearby industrial wind farms causing annoyance with their noise are becoming fairly common, a physician who has been looking at the most severe complaints has coined a phrase: “wind turbine syndrome.” Nina Pierpont, a New York pediatrician who has taught at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, has found a consistent cluster of symptoms associated with people living near wind turbines, including sleep problems, headaches that increase in severity, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, anger and irritability. “A setback of 1.5 miles from homes, schools, hospitals and similar institutes will probably be adequate Read the rest of this entry »

US Urges IMO to Consider Shipping Noise Impacts

Ocean 2 Comments »

The annual meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection committee included consideration of two issues related to shipping noise. The Committee invited countries to submit proposals to reduce environmental impacts of increasing tourist-related shipping in Antarctic waters, after an environmental consortium the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition raised the issue in a paper that highlighted several accidents and fuel spills that took place in a 13-month period. While most of the concern at this point is focused on contaminating the pristine waters and coastlines, the relative “natural quiet” in Antarctic waters has also been noted, with the area offering some of the best possibilities for protecting the acoustic integrity of ocean habitat. Read the rest of this entry »

Workshop Suggests Ways for MPAs to Provide Acoustic Refuge

Bioacoustics, Ocean, Science No Comments »

Agardy, Aguilar, Canadas, Engel, Frantzis, Hatch, Hoyt, Kashner, LaBrecque, Martin, Notarbartolo di Sciara, Pavan, Servidio, Smith, Want, Weilgart, Wintle, Wright. 2007. A global Scientific Workshop on Spatio-Temporal Management of Noise. Report of the Scientific Workshop. 44 pages. [DOWNLOAD(pdf)]

AEI Lay Summary
In June 2007, a workshop was held in the Canary Islands to consider the potentials for extending the management principles used in Marine Protected Areas to provide some protection from anthropogenic noise. Fundamental to the purpose and effectiveness of MPAs are “spatio-temporal restrictions” (STRs) of specific human activities: for example, excluding fishing, from a specific area (spatial restriction), or sometimes at times of special biological importance, such as spawning (temporal restriction). Few of today’s MPAs are large enough to provide protection from “elevated levels of ensonification:” buffers of tens of kilometers would be necessary for protection from mid-frequency sound, and a hundred or more kilometers from low-frequency sound. Read the rest of this entry »

Bristol Bay Oil Plans Move Ahead Along with Critical Habitat Designation

Effects of Noise on Wildlife, News, Ocean, Seismic Surveys No Comments »

Bristol Bay Oil and Gas Planning Announced by MMS; CBD Vows to Stop Leasing Process Due to Critical Habitat Designation – The Minerals Management Service has officially announced the start of a planning process to consider a 2011 lease sale for offshore oil and gas exploration in the North Aleutian Basin in Alaska. The publication of the proposal marks the start of the process, which will involve a public comment period and months of gathering information for an environmental impact statement, said Robin Cacy, a minerals service spokeswoman in Anchorage. “No decisions have been made on the sale. This is just the beginning,” she said. The area, which had been protected from drilling since 1990, is north of the Aleutian Islands near Bristol Bay. On the same day that the plan was announced, NMFS published its final decision naming parts of the lease sale as Critical Habitat for the North Pacific right whale. Read the rest of this entry »

Sound Budgeting Field Trial in Stellwagen Bank

Animal Communication, Bioacoustics, Ocean, Science No Comments »

Stellwagen Sanctuary Noise Monitoring to be Model for “Sound Budget” Research Worldwide – The hydrophone array deployed in Stellwagen Bank is far more than a ship-strike warning system; it is the first large field test of what many bioacousticians have been long calling for: a global network of monitoring systems that will dramatically increase our understanding of the distribution of human noise in the world’s oceans, and the ways local animals respond. NOAA researcher Sofie Van Parijs says the Sanctuary is a perfect place to build a case study that can provide a benchmark  Read the rest of this entry »

SoCal Sonar Draft EIS: Navy Sticks to its Approach

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Navy Releases Southern California Sonar Draft EIS, Proposals Fall Short of Court Orders – The Navy has released its long-planned Draft Environmental Impact Statement on offshore training exercises in Southern California, including the use of mid-frequency active sonar. Recent legal challenges to the Navy training, in which a circuit court judge imposed additional restrictions on use and an appeals court upheld the ruling, have been based on both the Navy’s previous lack of comprehensive environmental analysis, and on the standing of the California Coastal Commission to impose its own restrictions beyond those imposed by the federal National Marine Fisheries Service. The DEIS continues to make the case that the Navy’s existing operational procedures, developed in consort with NMFS, provide adequate protection to marine life; California state officials and laywers told the press that they are likely to challenge the final EIS if additional safety measures are not added.  Read the rest of this entry »

Navy Asked Supreme Court to Rule on Sonar Restrictions

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Navy Looks to Supreme Court for Sonar Relief – The US Navy has, as widely expected, asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by a Federal Appeals Court that upheld a lower court ruling imposing a larger buffer zone and other additional operational restrictions on its sonar training in southern California. The Justice Department petition argues that the restrictions jeopardize the Navy’s ability to train sailors and Marines for service in wartime, and could possibly prevent certification of some naval strike groups preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf. The agency also contends that national security interests can trump those of marine mammals, and that its use of mid-frequency sonar in training exercises hasn’t caused any documented harm to dolphins or beaked whales in the waters where they’re conducted. “We believe that this is an issue that is absolutely essential to national security and that a Supreme Court review of this case is warranted,” said Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Navy spokesman.  Read the rest of this entry »

Whale Protection Listening System Near Boston Shipping Lanes

Bioacoustics, News, Ocean 1 Comment »

Listening Buoys Deployed in Shipping Lanes Near Boston – Ten hydrohones installed in December in and near Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary are now active, monitoring the busy shipping lanes for whales. When a whale is heard, tanker captains are notified within a half hour, and required to slow down (which reduces noise) and post lookouts, so that fewer extremely endangered Northern right whales are killed by ship strikes. The listening network will also help scientists to understand how the whales respond to the approach of ships. “A lot of the coastline throughout the world is becoming industrialized,” said Sofie Van Parijs,  Read the rest of this entry »