Our Work

Our Work

Ocean Protection Council

Ocean Protection Council

H. T. Harvey & Associates led a collaborative effort to review the potential ecological effects of Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) technology on nearshore marine communities, identify critical knowledge gaps, and prioritize research needs. To meet the various goals of the project, we partnered with scientists from the University of California, Davis; University of California, Santa Cruz; Humboldt State University; and the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research. Our goals were as follows:

  • Review the spatial patterns of nearshore wave energy, existing sedimentary structures, and wave-influenced nearshore habitats that would most likely interact with offshore wave energy devices in California. Describe what is known and unknown about changes in beaches and estuary mouths that could result from alterations in wave-driven sediment transport; changes in intertidal, shallow subtidal, and kelp forest habitats that could result from modified wave energy; and changes in the transport and mixing of land-based runoff that could result from altered nearshore wave-driven currents.
     
  • Identify the benthic habitat that would most likely be disturbed by offshore wave energy devices in California. Describe what is known and unknown about habitat conversion or loss that may occur during construction, operation, and decommissioning of these devices, such as may be caused by habitat shading, seafloor cable mooring, vessel anchoring, and current and sediment changes.
     
  • Characterize the invertebrates, fishes, marine mammals, and seabirds that would most likely interact with offshore wave energy devices in California. Describe what is known and unknown about critical habitats, movements, endangered and threatened species, contact issues (e.g., entrainment, entanglement), repulsion, and attraction.
     
  • Describe the social and economic information most applicable to evaluating offshore wave energy development in California. Discuss completed and ongoing research on human use of the marine environment, areas recognized for high vessel traffic, and areas of importance for recreational, cultural, or economic reasons. Review what is known about the coastal and ocean economies in the region.

Our team of expert ecologists was able to identify scientific studies that would inform the design and siting of devices in ways that would reduce population-level impacts on species, fill critical information needs, and provide the means for monitoring device operation to identify harmful impacts. In addition, H. T. Harvey & Associates described critical social and economic information gaps and prioritized research needs for filling these gaps.