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2014, Fugro EMU, Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, Pre-construction Baseline Ecology Study

2014, Fugro EMU, Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, Pre-construction Baseline Ecology Study

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Benthic Ecology

Description

DOW is located 32 km off the North Norfolk coast, in water depths of between 18 m and 25 m. The
site will have a capacity of 402 MW (Mega Watts) and comprise of 67 wind turbine generators. The
export cables will be approximately 38 km long, with the cable landfall at Weybourne Hope.
As part of the Environmental Statement (ES) required for the application process for permission to
develop DOW, benthic ecology surveys of the proposed development area were carried out in 2008,
with further habitat mapping, based on sidescan data and video sampling, undertaken in 2013.
The current study was required in order to acquire more targeted pre-construction data and build on
the information collected during the 2008 and 2013 surveys. This in turn will provide robust baseline
information on the physical and biological characteristics of the subtidal benthic habitats and
associated faunal communities, against which potential impacts arising from the construction and
operation of the wind farm can be assessed.  The pre-construction survey comprised of 0.1 m2 Hamon grab sampling for infaunal invertebrate and
sediment particle size distribution analyses. Epibenthic survey trawls were also undertaken, by means
of 2 m Beam Trawls for semi-quantitative assessment of epibenthos and fish and shellfish species.
A targeted drop-down camera survey was undertaken to ground truth sidescan sonar data in relation
to potential presence of Sabellaria spinulosa reefs and to further assess benthic habitats as identified
by the geophysical survey. Sidescan sonar and geophysical data were acquired during previous
surveys of the area, undertaken by Fugro EMU on board the survey vessel, MV Ocean Dawn.

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