Header Slideshow Image 1 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 2 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 3 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 4 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 5 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 6 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 7 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 8 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 9 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 10 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 11 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 12 of 13
Header Slideshow Image 13 of 13

GESCHA final report published.

The project was conducted by BioConsult SH GmbH & Co KG, IBL Umweltplanung GmbH and IfAÖ GmbH and commissioned by „Arbeitskreis Schallschutz“ of the Offshore Forum Windenergie, in which all wind farm developers with projects within the German North Sea are represented.

The project employs a comprehensive and unique dataset that did not previously exist in a similar form worldwide. It is comprised of hydrosound measurements, C-POD data from passive acoustic monitoring of harbour porpoises, porpoise abundance data from aerial surveys and detailed information on installation characteristics that were provided by the developers and operators of eight offshore wind farms within the German North Sea.

Between 2009 and 2013 eight offshore wind farms with a total of over 400 wind turbines were constructed within the EEZ of the German North Sea and coastal waters of Lower Saxony. For all projects steel foundations were driven into the seabed using impulse ramming procedures. Extensive environmental monitoring was conducted before and during construction during all projects. Furthermore, additional data were collected on noise emission and porpoise presence within the vicinity of construction sites. The collection and combination of all this information formed a large dataset on abundance and distribution of harbour porpoises within the German Bight and on noise emission into the water column during pile driving procedures, which had previously only been analysed for the individual projects. Therefore, this dataset provides a solid and extensive database for a comprehensive study on disturbance effects of offshore construction activities on harbour porpoises.

In order to achieve the best possible assessment of harbour porpoise distribution within the German Bight, data were complemented by porpoise monitoring data from seven further wind farm projects, which in 2013 were still in the planning phase and partly realized during later years. In this way, almost all relevant information available for the German Bight was compiled and transferred into a single joint database.

Project aims

The aim of this study was to utilize the data on abundance and distribution of harbour porpoises collected within the framework of offshore wind energy development and production within the German Bight so far, within joint cross-project analyses. Central to the study objectives weres analyzing and assessing significant disturbance effects as defined in § 44 Abs. 1 Nr. 2 BNatSchG caused by pile driving during the installation of turbine foundations. Both, small-scale as well as broader scale temporal and spatial aspects of disturbance were considered and addressed. Furthermore, abundance and distribution of harbour porpoises over a four to five year time period were assessed against the background of increasing piling activities over this time period.

Please find the final report for download below:

Brandt, M. J., Dragon, A.-C., Diederichs, A., Schubert, A., Kosarev, V., Nehls, G., Wahl, V., Michalik, A., Braasch, A., Hinz, C., Ketzer, C., Todeskino, D., Gauger, M., Laczny, M. & Piper, W.
Effects of offshore pile driving on harbour porpoise abundance in the German Bight
Im Auftrag des „Arbeitskreis Schallschutz“ des Offshore Forums Windenergie.
Created by BioConsult SH GmbH & Co KG, Husum; IBL Umweltplanung GmbH, Oldenburg; Institut für Angewandte Ökosystemforschung GmbH, Hamburg
Download document