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2004, Envision Mapping Ltd, Lynn, Lincs and Inner Dowsing Offshore Windfarms, Sabellaria Spinulosa Survey

2004, Envision Mapping Ltd, Lynn, Lincs and Inner Dowsing Offshore Windfarms, Sabellaria Spinulosa Survey

Topic categories:

Benthic Ecology

Last series update:

May 2021

MEDIN approved

Industry:

Wind

Collection date:

Sep 2004 - Nov 2004

Development:

Inner Dowsing - Lynn - Lincs

Publication date:

May 2021

Round:

2

Organisation:

Envision Mapping Ltd

Phase:

Pre-construction

Description

This project presents survey information to determine seabed conditions pre- and post-construction for three offshore wind farms off the Lincolnshire coast (Lincs, Lynn and Inner Dowsing). This report presents the survey results and analysis of the pre-construction phase. The purpose of the survey was to:- • Identify the occurrence of Sabellaria spinulosa and, if present, describe the extent of development of reef communities likely to be of conservation importance; • Identify of other benthic habitats that might be sensitive to the construction and operation of wind farms; • Provide a baseline from which the effects of construction can be assessed, especially on any Sabellaria spinulosa; • Survey the seabed bathymetry. The survey strategy stipulated that grab sampling was to be avoided where reefs were detected. No substantial reef structures were detected on the sidescan sonar and this permitted a more representative grab sampling program. 30 samples were taken for sediment size and infauna. The infauna were analysed using multivariate techniques and trend analysis in a geographic information system (GIS). The sediments were classed into categories and these used to classify the AGDS data. One of the ‘sediment’ classes was the biogenic sediment Sabellaria spinulosa tubes. The classification predicted that the location most likely to support Sabellaria spinulosa reef was at the margin of the stony/gravel shoal. Although no substantial Sabellaria spinulosa reefs were found, dense aggregations were observed and the predicted distribution of habitats most likely to support this biogenic habitat, derived from the interpretation of the acoustic data, lay on the eastern margin of the Lynn, Lincs and Inner Dowsing sites. This also coincided with high species diversity. The majority of the shallow gravel shoal which makes up the proposed wind farm sites support low to moderate diversity epifaunal biotopes typical of the southern North Sea and are of low conservation significance when taken in their wider geographic context.