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North Atlantic Right Whale, Harbor Seals Focus of New Offshore Wind Studies

State environmental officials and utility regulators announced last week their coordinated Offshore Wind Research and Monitoring Initiative requested an updated proposal for the deployment of “archival passive acoustic monitoring equipment to understand better the distribution and habitat space of the baleen whale species, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale,” off the coast.

RMI is administered by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities. In a joint statement April 19, officials said the updated request for proposal is part of a larger project that includes coordination with other state, regional and federal agencies looking to protect marine mammals as offshore wind lease areas develop on the Eastern Seaboard.

“The updated RFP will leverage funding towards a greater number of listening devices, prioritizing detection coverage,” according to state officials. “A future solicitation will be created for regional spatial analyses of whale movement and distribution patterns.”

That same day, the DEP and BPU announced nearly $2 million in additional funding for the safe, responsible and eco-friendly development of offshore wind.

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