Environmental Catalog for the Humboldt Wind Area
The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to assess a proposed Humboldt Wind Energy Area (HWEA) related to offshore wind leasing, and potentially, development activities. The HWEA is a 131,840-acre (534 km2 /206 mi2) open ocean area being considered by BOEM to conduct an offshore wind lease sale in fall 2022 (BOEM 2021). The HWEA is in federal jurisdictional waters beginning approximately 34 km (21 mi) offshore west of the city of Eureka in Humboldt County, California, extending seaward to 56 km (35 mi) offshore, and stretching approximately 45 km (28 mi) from north to south.
The California Coastal Commission, through its consultation responsibilities under Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, is to decide on whether to concur with the federal consistency determination that will be prepared by BOEM as part of the issuance of the Environmental Assessment and the proposed action to hold a lease sale. The Coastal Commission will assess and base its decision on whether the consistency determination, as well as other information and data provided, meet the state’s enforceable policies, which are documented in Chapter 3 of the California Coastal Act of 1976.
To help the Coastal Commission in this review and assessment process, Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue) was tasked with developing a data catalogue and to synthesize the most relevant environmental datasets that are known within the HWEA or vicinity, including the nearshore coastal areas offshore Humboldt County. The intent of this report is to identify the best sources of data currently available on California’s offshore resources, particularly in and around proposed wind energy areas. An important next step that would enhance this data catalogue effort is to identify and develop a single repository for West Coast data. Ideally, this would include regular updates of the datasets and a process to ensure that information has been peer-reviewed and verified.
This report describes certain marine resources and associated datasets that are available for the region. The report also includes information on potential gaps in the current knowledge base on data associated with these resources.