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WinMon Activity Report 2013-2014
Degraer, S.; Vigin, L.; Brabant, R. (Ed.) (2015). WinMon Activity Report 2013-2014. Operational Directorate Natural Environment: Brussel. 39 pp.

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Degraer, S., editor, more
  • Vigin, L., editor
  • Brabant, R., editor

Abstract
    Belgium has allocated a 238 km² zone of the Belgian part of the North Sea to offshore renewable energy production, for example offshore wind farms. Prior to construction, a developer needs obtaining a domain concession and an environmental permit. The latter includes a number of terms and conditions to minimise or mitigate the environmental impact of the wind farm project. This also imposes a monitoring programme to assess the potential impacts on the marine environment. The environmental monitoring programme targets physical (hydro-geomorphology and underwater noise), biological (epifouling community on the hard substratum, macro and epibenthos of the soft substratum, fish, seabirds and marine mammals), as well as socio-economic (seascape perception and offshore renewables appreciation) aspects of the marine environment. The Operational Directorate Natural Environment (OD Nature) of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) coordinates the monitoring programme. To cover all necessary scientific expertise OD Nature collaborates with several institutes: the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO - Bio-Environmental research group), Ghent University (Marine Biology Research Group and INTEC), International Marine and Dredging Consultants (IMDC) and Grontmij Belgium NV. The Belgian offshore wind farm environmental monitoring programme started in 2005 with the t.i data collection at C-Power wind farm on the Thorntonbank, where the first wind turbines were installed in 2008. The monitoring programme is running continuously since 2008 (i.e. to) and now (July 2015) covers three wind farms (i.e. C-Power, Belwind and Northwind) with a total of 181 wind turbines. This report provides an overview of the monitoring activities that took place in the years 2013 and 2014. These cover the investigation of soft sediment benthos and fish, hard substrate benthos, seabirds and marine mammals. The activity overview distinguishes between basic and targeted monitoring, with basic monitoring focusing on the observation of the overall offshore wind farm impact and targeted monitoring aiming at the understanding of the ecological mechanisms behind a selection of observed impacts. For each activity, its objectives, methodologies used and data collected in 2013 and 2014 are presented. If further information on specific sections would be needed, do not hesitate getting in touch with the contact point as identified for each section

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