This month we were really excited to see the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) release their draft Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap for public comment. This is the first coordinated initiative by the US regulator to address issues of man-made noise in the oceans. And, SMRU Consulting is already collaborating on this novel effort as NOAA are currently assessing our (interim) Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCOD) framework to assess impacts of noise on Cook Inlet Beluga (more on this later!).

Check out the Ocean Noise Strategy efforts and the recently released Roadmap here. Public comments on the draft Roadmap are welcomed by NOAA until July 1, 2016.

The Ocean Noise Strategy is the second phase of NOAA’s ongoing efforts to increase understanding and better manage the impacts of ocean noise on marine species and their habitats. Part of the Ocean Noise Strategy has been the development of the CetSound program —a 2-part program that has developed mapping tools to assist in assessing the impacts of man-made noise on whales, dolphins and porpoise. These tools include Cetmap and Soundmap.

Over the next decade the Ocean Noise Strategy will allow NOAA to more comprehensively address ocean noise impacts by guiding future science and management actions. As part of this long-term initiative NOAA have developed a Roadmap that will enhance NOAA’s ability to manage both species and their habitats within the context of a changing acoustic environment. This Roadmap sets out a series of key goals that the Strategy aims to achieve across all offices within the agency”

  • SCIENCE: NOAA and federal partners are filling shared critical knowledge gaps and building understanding of noise impacts over ecologically-relevant scales.
  • MANAGEMENT: NOAA’s actions are integrated across the agency and minimizing the acute, chronic and cumulative effects of noise on marine species and their habitat.
  • DECISION SUPPORT TOOLS: NOAA is developing publicly available tools for assessment, planning and mitigation of noise-making activities over ecologically-relevant scales.
  • OUTREACH: NOAA is educating the public on noise impacts, engaging with stakeholders & coordinating with related efforts internationally.

SMRU Consulting is currently contributing to NOAA’s Ocean Noise Strategy efforts. In April, NOAA sponsored a Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCOD) workshop to assess the potential impacts of noise on Cook Inlet beluga whales. This workshop was organized and run by SMRU Consulting Scientists Dr. Dom Tollit and Dr. Cormac Booth.

Much of our work addresses issues related to ocean noise. Examples of such work include SMRU Consulting North America’s contribution to Port Metro Vancouver’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Environmental Impact Statement and the Port’s ECHO program, and the numerous past and current applications of the PCOD framework: