New Jersey offshore wind developer launches study on red knot migratory patterns

Red Knot
On Reeds Beach facing the Delaware Bay, hundreds of migrating, endangered red knot sandpipers feed hungrily on horseshoe crab eggs on Cape May Peninsula, New Jersey.

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind announced today that it is partnering with Dr. Larry Niles of the New Jersey-based Wildlife Restoration Partnerships (WRP) and Normandeau Associates to research movement of endangered red knots off the coast of New Jersey during their southbound migration.

Red knots, an endangered and federally threatened shore bird, migrate each year from as far south as Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, stopping in the Delaware Bay to feast on horseshoe crab eggs before going to the Canadian Arctic to breed. Atlantic Shores and its partners are assessing whether red knots fly off the coast of New Jersey during this journey.

Starting this week, WRP will begin attaching satellite tags to 30 red knots as they stop in Brigantine Bay. The tags will allow a satellite to collect up to 60 pings on each bird’s precise location, flight path and varying altitude. Data will be collected near real-time and more comprehensively analyzed by researchers and Atlantic Shores over the coming months, said the companies.

Atlantic Shores will use the data towards the development of an offshore wind project, located 10-20 miles off the New Jersey coast, that will provide clean, renewable energy that minimizes and mitigates risk to these birds and the surrounding environment. Atlantic Shores has also committed to share their findings publicly to inform other researchers and offshore work.

“Building a truly green future requires that renewable energy projects are held to a high standard in terms of ecological impact,” said Larry Niles of New Jersey-based WRP. “I’m encouraged that Atlantic Shores approached me to launch this study, both to inform their plans for offshore wind in New Jersey and to further our knowledge of red knot migratory patterns. This is a great example of how private and public institutions can work together to improve the lives of people and the natural world around us.”

“Atlantic Shores leads with science. Proactive studies like these allow us to produce renewable energy based on cutting-edge, real-time environmental data,” said Jennifer Daniels, Atlantic Shores Development Director. “The red knots study is one of the many ways we intend to use data and insights from the scientific community to responsibly develop our Lease Area.”

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