Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program

II. Ecology

Ecology Panel

Committee to Review the Outer Continental Shelf

Environmental Studies Program

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C. 1992



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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program II. Ecology Ecology Panel Committee to Review the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS WASHINGTON, D.C. 1992

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Contract No. 14-12-001-30342. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 89-63847 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04598-3 A limited number of copies of this report are available from the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 S466 Cover photo: Grant Heilman/Grant Heilman Photography Printed in the United States of America

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Ecology Panel Judith McDowell Capuzzo (Chair), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Edward J. Brown, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Donald G. Crosby, University of California, Davis Paul K. Dayton, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Mark Fraker, BP Exploration, Anchorage* Eileen Hofmann, Old Dominion University, Norfolk George L. Hunt, Jr., University of California, Irvine June Lindstedt-Siva, Atlantic Richfield Company, Los Angeles Ian Nisbet, I.C.T. Nisbet & Co., Lincoln, MA Robert T. Paine, University of Washington, Seattle Donald B. Siniff, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Michael P. Sissenwine, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD Parent Committee Liaison Members Vera Alexander, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Edward D. Goldberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Charles Bruce Koons, Exxon Production Research Company (retired), Houston John J. Walsh, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Project Director David J. Policanksy * With Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage, since Summer 1991

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Committee to Review the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program John W. Farrington (Chairman), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Vera Alexander, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Garry D. Brewer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Judith McDowell Capuzzo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Charles Eddy, Los Angeles Edward D. Goldberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Charles Bruce Koons, Exxon Production Research Company (retired), Houston Guy Martin, Perkins Coie, Washington, DC Arthur Maxwell, University of Texas, Austin James J. O'Brien, Florida State University, Tallahassee Maurice Rattray, Jr., University of Washington, Seattle Howard A. Slack, Port Ludlow, WA John J. Walsh, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Project Staff David Policansky, Project Director Norman Grossblatt, Editor Sylvia Tognetti, Research Associate Bernidean Williams, Information Specialist Holly Wells, Senior Project Assistant Sponsor U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Paul J. Risser (Chairman), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Frederick R. Anderson, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, DC John C. Bailar, III, McGill University School of Medicine, Montreal Lawrence W. Barnthouse, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN Garry D. Brewer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Edwin H. Clark, II, State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Dover Yoram Cohen, University of California, Los Angeles John L. Emmerson, Lilly Research Laboratories, Greenfield, IN Robert L. Harness, Monsanto Agricultural Company, St. Louis Alfred G. Knudson, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia Gene E. Likens, The New York Botanical Garden, Millbrook Paul J. Lioy, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University, Corvallis Donald R. Mattison, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Gordon Orians, University of Washington, Seattle Nathaniel Reed, Hobe Sound, FL Margaret M. Seminario, AFL/CIO, Washington, DC I. Glenn Sipes, University of Arizona, Tucson Walter J. Weber, Jr., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor BEST Staff James J. Reisa, Director David J. Policansky, Associate Director and Program Director for Applied Ecology and Natural Resources Richard D. Thomas, Associate Director and Program Director for Human Toxicology and Risk Assessment Lee R. Paulson, Program Director for Information Systems and Statistics Raymond A. Wassel, Program Director for Environmental Sciences and Engineering

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources1 M. Gordon Wolman (Chairman), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Robert C. Beardsley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole B. Clark Burchfiel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Peter S. Eagleson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Helen M. Ingram, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, Tucson Gene E. Likens, The New York Botanical Garden, Millbrook Syukuro Manabe, Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Lab, NOAA, Princeton Jack E. Oliver, Cornell University, Ithaca Philip A. Palmer, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Newark, DE Frank L. Parker, Clemson University, Anderson, SC Duncan T. Patten, Arizona State University, Tempe Maxine L. Savitz, Allied Signal Aerospace, Torrance, CA Larry L. Smarr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign Steven M. Stanley, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Sir Crispin Tickell, Green College at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, United Kingdom Karl K. Turekian, Yale University, New Haven Irvin L. White, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany Staff Stephen Rattien, Executive Director Stephen D. Parker, Associate Executive Director Janice E. Mehler, Assistant Executive Director Jeanette A. Spoon, Financial Officer Carlita Perry, Administrative Assistant Robin Lewis, Senior Project Assistant 1   This study originally was undertaken under the auspices of the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources (see Appendix A).

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Preface The review leading to this report was initiated in May 1986 by the National Research Council (NRC) at the request of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the U.S. Department of Interior. Under the auspices of the NRC Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, the Committee to Review the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program was formed to carry out the overall assignment. Three panels were established, one of which, the Ecology Panel, investigated the ecological aspects of the Environmental Studies Program (ESP). The ecology report is the second in the series of three reports. It has been 13 years since a previous NRC review (OCS Oil and Gas: An Assessment of the Department of Interior Environmental Studies Program) recommended a change from the previous program of supporting descriptive baseline studies to one of carrying out studies that focus on the prediction of impacts from OCS operations and provide information more directly applicable to leasing and management decisions. To date, the ESP has expended approximately $500 million over its 18-year history for environmental studies applicable to lease sales covering most of the U.S. outer continental shelf. This NRC review has addressed the general state of knowledge of specific disciplines (ecology, physical oceanography, and socioeconomics), the adequacy and applicability of ESP studies in meeting program goals, and recommendations for future studies. The Ecology Panel based its review on several sources, including presentations from ESP staff; briefings by other, independent scientists familiar with the work supported by the ESP; results of workshops on ecological studies held by the panel; and a review of relevant scientific literature and documentation of MMS's planning and implementation process leading to various lease sales. While this report was being prepared, the OCS committee and its panels prepared two reports on the adequacy of environmental information for OCS decisions in response to government requests. The first, requested by President George Bush, dealt with a lease sale off the coast of Florida and two off the coast of California and was published in 1989. The second, requested by MMS, focused on a north Atlantic sale and was published in 1991. The Ecology Panel acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of the MMS staff, especially D. Aurand, C. Benner, R. Cohen, and W. Lang; the guidance and support of NRC staff, especially D. Policansky, S. Tognetti, E. Hobbie, and H. Wells; and the helpful comments

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology provided by reviewers. We also thank D. Davis, who was director of the Board on Environmental Studies when this project first was undertaken, and J. Reisa, the current director. To all, we express our sincere appreciation. Judith McDowell Capuzzo Chairman, Ecology Panel

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Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: II. Ecology Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1  1   INTRODUCTION   9      Outer Continental Shelf Activities,   9      The Environmental Studies Program,   17      The Present Study and Report,   23  2   PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT   27      Focus and Geographic Extent of Studies,   27      Environmental Variability: Detecting the Effects of OCS Activities,   28      Studies of Marine Birds, Mammals, Turtles, and Endangered Species,   30      Characterization of Benthic Environments,   35      Fisheries,   37      Ecosystem Modeling,   38  3   ANALYSIS OF THE PROGRAM   41      Birds,   41      Sea Turtles,   54      Marine Mammals,   56      Benthic Studies,   70      Fisheries,   90      Ecosystem Modeling,   93  4   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   99      Conclusions,   99      Recommendations,   100     REFERENCES   97     APPENDIXES   129  A:   Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources,   129  B:   Ecology Study Contracts Awarded by the Minerals Management Service, 1973-1989,   131

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