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Beaked Whale Stranding at End of Month-long Navy Exercises

Sonar No Comments »

As the US Navy approaches the end of the month-long multinational RIMPAC training exercise in waters around Hawaii, a single Cuvier’s beaked whale has turned up on a Maui beach. After several hours of near-shore struggle, it was euthenized and taken to Hawaii Pacific University for a necropsy, to attempt to determine the cause of death. Beaked whales have been the most common species associated with sonar-induced strandings, but previous incidents have usually involved several animals at a time. It is unclear how close sonar exercises were to the stranding site, though the Navy initiated aerial surveys of coastlines within ten miles of the Maui site, and did not see any other stranding victims. Read the rest of this entry »

UK Wind Farm Plan Abandoned; Developer Cites Responsibility to Avoid Noise Problems for Neighbors

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines No Comments »

Plans for a modest-sized wind farm in rural Wales have been abandoned after one of the developers decided that it would have to be cut in half to meet local noise standards. While energy company E.On had hoped to build a 10 megawatt, 8-turbine wind farm, their analysis showed that only a 5 megawatt project would avoid causing a “noise nuisance” to nearby homes, and they could not justify investing in the smaller project. E.On’s head of new business Danny Shaw said: “We certainly didn’t take this decision lightly but, as a responsible developer, we simply wouldn’t be willing to build a scheme that we thought had the potential to exceed acceptable noise limits.” E.On’s planned partner, Arts Factory, hopes to proceed with the smaller project. Arts Factory chief executive Elwyn James said, “We’re disappointed obviously, although we would be just as cautious as E.On about the possibility of causing noise disturbance.” Source: BBC News. 7/2/08 [READ ARTICLE]

Beaked Whales to be Tagged and Monitored During World’s Largest Joint Navy Exercise

Bioacoustics, Sonar No Comments »

For the first time, researchers will have the chance to see in detail how beaked whales respond to actual military active sonar exercises, thanks to two studies taking place during the biannual RIMPAC exercises around Hawaii this month. RIMPAC, the world’s largest multi-national naval exercise, involves 20,000 troops from ten countries, and runs through July. One team will be tracking dive patterns only on 30-35 whales, while researchers from another team will attach suction-mounted D-tags to beaked whales; the tags remain attached for several hours before falling off and rising to the surface for retrieval. While attached, the tags track the dive patterns of the whales, as well as recording all sounds, so that researchers can hear what sound level triggered any observed behavioral changes. D-tag studies have been an increasingly valuable research tool over the past several years, but until now, had been used only in controlled experimental settings (with researchers making or playing sounds in the vicinity), rather than in “real world” settings. Sources: AP, 7/3/08 [READ ARTICLE]