WDC issued a first response to the Aberdeen Harbour Extension project (see response in forum)
WDC responded to the public consultation regarding the Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project (AHEP). Making clear our concerns regarding blasting, dredging and drilling and called for regular updates regarding mitigation and asked for appropriate marine mammal monitoring. In addition we offered Shorewatch data and advised that Shorewatch was supported . See WDC’s response in the forum.
WDC have been attending all the meetings and have revised and commented on the various drafts of the Construction Environmental Management Document (CEMD), the document that contains all the monitoring and mitigation that will be used during construction. http://www.aberdeen-harbour.co.uk/article/construction-environmental-man...
WDC, SNH and RSPB have all been quite strict on this CEMD. The developers are going to initially use a double bubble curtain during blasting to mitigate any potential noise, this might be reduced to a single bubble curtain once the breakwater is built. They will also have marine mammal observers with a minimum of 2 years’ experience and passive acoustic monitoring at all times during the parts of construction that have the potential to impact marine mammals. This hasn’t been done in this area before; we have to be over precautionary.
Early May local volunteers were informed that the development is due to start and were asked to keep an eye out for any live or dead strandings, and/or even complete displacement of the dolphins during construction. Although fingers crossed, none of these will happen.
Worked started on the AHEP around mid- to late May and includes blasting and dredging. WDC are on the Environmental Advisory Group so will be consulted for advice.
WDC ensured that the developers are committed to monitoring the harbour mouth and the developers plan to meet with the Shorewatch team and attend a Shorewatch training.
17th May The ARUP team working on the development met with the Shorewatch staff and volunteers to discuss the development which was due to start in the next few days. The team at ARUP wants to use Shorewatch data alongside data collected by Marine Mammal Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring, although we need to resolve how we combine the data as different methods are used. Combining the data will give a better platform to assess the impacts of the development on local wildlife moreover the resident Bottlenose dolphins. The benefit of Shorewatch data is that we have a long term baseline dataset collected years before the development and hopefully during and post, so will be able to show any change in bottlenose dolphin presence pre and post development. The idea was presented about a funded PHD/masters project focusing on assessing the combined datasets so that conclusions can be drawn on the impacts of the development and success of the mitigation.
24th May; Consultants of ARUP attended a Shorewatch training to gain a better understanding of the project and strength of the data collected. Newly trained ARUP surveyors will conduct Shorewatches before and after development each day so that we can monitor any change.