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Speaker: David M. Pereksta, Avian Biologist, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Date: March 12, 2024

Program Description: The offshore waters and the coastline of the Pacific states and Hawaii provide year-round habitat for many bird species, at least 13 of which are federally listed as threatened or endangered, and 80 others have some level of special status designation. The prospect of renewable energy development off the Pacific coast of the United States has led to a scramble for data needs on potentially affected resources, particularly those related to avian species. The potential effects from renewable energy development to avian species are complex and varied including collision, displacement, barrier effects, and attraction. As the lead Federal agency for renewable energy development on the Federal outer continental shelf (OCS), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has initiated a variety of avian studies to provide an improved understanding of offshore ecosystems, a baseline for assessing effects, and the scientific basis for development of regulatory measures to mitigate adverse impacts.  David will share BOEM’s efforts to understand these issues and inform their decision-making process given the uncertainties that exist in the knowledge regarding the effects these types of projects could have on avian species on the Pacific OCS. David will provide the details of BOEM’s avian study strategy for the Pacific and how it is being used to proactively address key avian issues for offshore wind assessment. This includes assessing available information from recent and historical surveys, updating information and filling data gaps, predictively modeling seabird distribution off the Pacific coast, technology testing for efficient ways to inventory birds on the OCS, assessing vulnerability of marine birds to offshore wind energy infrastructure, and developing approaches to monitoring and mitigating potential effects.  

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Speaker Bio: David Pereksta is an avian biologist with the Pacific OCS Region of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Camarillo, California. His primary duties are studying and analyzing the effects of offshore oil and gas production, and renewable energy development, on birds and bats off the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Hawaii. Since arriving at BOEM in 2010, David has collaborated on and developed a number of avian-related studies that will inform BOEM’s decision making for renewable energy projects on the Pacific OCS.  Before coming to BOEM, he spent 16 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working on the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species along the Pacific coast, and 3 years with the U.S. Forest Service surveying, monitoring, and managing late seral stage forest species in the Sierra Nevada. Throughout his 35-year career, he has studied imperiled bird species including Snowy Plovers, Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Ospreys, Northern Goshawks, Brown Pelicans, Spotted Owls, and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. In addition, He has spent hundreds of days observing birds at sea off California, Oregon, North Carolina, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, and the Russian Far East.  

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