Cape Wind is committed to protecting the Cape Cod environment during construction and when the wind park is operating. Prior to receiving permits for construction, Cape Wind will complete comprehensive environmental studies for federal, state and local agencies, and provide opportunity for public comment. These studies, led by†ESS Group, Inc.†in conjunction with other environmental and engineering firms, will ensure that the wind park is a good environmental neighbor.
Commercial and recreational fisheries
In planning the project, the highest attention was given to any impacts on fish habitat, populations and the fishing industry. In addition, recreational fishing and boating are important uses of Nantucket Sound that need to be protected. The siting, construction and operations of the wind park are designed to ensure that the wind park co-exists successfully with fish and the fishing industry. The towers will be spaced at least a 1/3 mile to a 1/2 mile apart, allowing most commercial fishing vessels to navigate without obstruction. In fact, some measures may actually increase fisheries yield, benefitting all who depend on these important marine resources.
As part of the environmental review, extensive avian research has been conducted on Nantucket Sound using high resolution avian radar (left), over-flights, and boat transects.† Based upon a review of existing information and field observations, there is less bird activity over Horseshoe Shoal than in many other areas of Nantucket Sound.† The estimated small number of birds killed by wind turbines is unlikely to cause bird population declines.
Read more about the avian research done for the Cape Wind project here.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society has done its own research in Nantucket Sound and has given preliminary†support to the wind farm.† Read more about their†position here.†
Marine mammals and threatened/endangered species
Because the wind park uses a negligible fraction of the area of Horseshoe Shoal, the loss of habitat and direct impact to marine mammals and threatened/endangered species will be minimal.†
Benthic (bottom dwelling) animals
Benthic organisms include those animals that live on or beneath the seabed floor, such as worms, insects, small clams and other macroinvertebrates. Based on comprehensive field investigations, previous studies of Nantucket Sound and agency consultations, the impact to benthic fauna from construction activity will be localized, temporary and short-term.
The existing conditions of marine sediment along the cable routes and within the wind park have been evaluated through geophysical surveys and geotechnical investigations. These studies were completed by Ocean Surveys, Inc. of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, in conjunction with ESS Group, Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts. Based on the finding, the installation and construction methods will have minimal impact to the ocean floor. Any dispersion of sediment during construction will be short term. Studies of the sediment in the area of the cable and wind park indicated an absence of elevated chemical constituents, so the disturbance and resuspension of sediments should not change the existing ocean floor.
Read about the current status of the environmental review process.