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Title: Assessment of Potential Impact of Electromagnetic Fields from Undersea Cable on Migratory Fish Behavior

Abstract

The US Department of Energy and US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management commissioned this study to address the limited scientific data on the impacts of high voltage direct current cables on aquatic biota, in particular migratory species within the San Francisco Bay. Empirical evidence exists that marine animals perceive and orient to local distortions in the earth’s main geomagnetic field magnetic field. The electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by the cables that carry electricity from hydrokinetic energy sources to shore-based power stations may produce similar local distortions in the earth’s main field. Concern exists that animals that migrate along the continental shelves might orient to the EMF from the cables, and move either inshore or offshore away from their normal path. The Trans Bay Cable (TBC) is a ±200-kilovolt (kV), 400 MW 85-km long High Voltage Direct Current (DC) buried transmission line linking Pittsburg, CA with San Francisco, CA (SF) through the San Francisco Bay. The study addresses the following specific questions based on measurements and projections of the EMF produced by an existing marine cable, the TBC, in San Francisco Bay. Specifically, does the presence of EMF from an operating power cable alter the behavior andmore » path of bony fishes and sharks along a migratory corridor? Does the EMF from an operating power cable guide migratory movements or pose an obstacle to movement? To meet the main study objectives several activities needed to be carried out: 1) modeling of the magnetic fields produced by the TBC, 2) assessing the migratory impacts on Chinook salmon smolts (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) as a result of local magnetic field distortions produced by bridge structures and 3) analyzing behavioral responses by migratory Chinook salmon and green sturgeon to a high-voltage power cable. To meet the first objective, magnetic field measurements were made using two submerged Geometrics magnetometers towed behind a survey vessel in four locations in the San Francisco estuary along profiles crossing the cable path. We applied basic formulas to describe magnetic field from a DC cable summed vectorially with the background geomagnetic field (in the absence of other sources that would perturb the ambient field) to derive characteristics of the cable not immediately or otherwise observable. The magnetic field profiles of 76 survey lines were regressed against the measured fields, representing eight days of measurement. Many profiles were dominated by field distortions caused by bridge structures or other submerged objects, and the cable contribution to the field was not detectable. The regressions based on fundamental principles (Biot Savart law) and the vectorial summation of cable and geomagnetic fields provide estimates of cable characteristics consistent with plausible expectations. For the second objective, detailed gradiometer survey were examined. Distortions in the earth’s main field produced by bridges across the estuary were much greater than those from the TBC. The former anomalies exceeded the latter by an order of magnitude or more. Significant numbers of tagged Chinook salmon smolts migrated past bridges, which produced strong magnetic anomalies, to the Golden Gate Bridge, where they were recorded by dual arrays of acoustic tag-detecting monitors moored in lines across the mouth of the bay. Adult green sturgeon successfully swam upstream and downstream through the estuary on the way to and from their spawning grounds. Hence, the large anomalies produced by the bridges that run perpendicular to these migration routes do not appear to present a strong barrier to the natural seasonal movement patterns of salmonid smolts and adult green sturgeon. Finally, to assess the behavioral responses by migratory Chinook salmon and green sturgeon to a high- voltage power cable - the potential impacts effect of the TBC on fishes migrating through the San Francisco Estuary were examined. These included late-fall run Chinook salmon smolts (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) that migrate downstream through the San Francisco Estuary to the Pacific Ocean and adult green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), which migrate upstream from the ocean through the estuary to their spawning habitat in the upper Sacramento River and return to the ocean after spawning occurs. Our results indicate Chinook salmon smolts may be attracted to the cable after activation (more cable location crossings, more detections at Bay Bridge, high importance of distance to cable in predicting fish location), but are not impeded from successfully migrating through the San Francisco Bay (similar proportions of successful exits, faster transit rates). Cable activity had opposite effects on outbound and inbound green sturgeon migrations: outbound migrations had significantly longer transit times while inbound migrations had significantly shorter migration times. However, the proportion of green sturgeon that successfully migrated through the San Francisco Bay was not strongly impacted after cable activation for either migration type. Based on the work, we provide the following conclusions: 1) calculations of magnetic fields for assessment of marine life can be performed; however, local anomalies in the fields resulting from submerged structures require validation of such calculations through collection of ambient DC magnetic field data, 2) the large anomalies produced by the bridges that run perpendicular to these migration routes do not appear to present a strong barrier to the natural seasonal movement patterns of salmonid smolts and adult green sturgeon and 3) Chinook salmon smolts may be attracted to the activated cable based on analysis of cable crossing, misdirections, and first presence at the array data, however, the cable activation does not appear to change the proportion of smolts that successfully migrate through the San Francisco Bay. Cable activation impacts inbound and outbound migrating adult green sturgeon: travel time was increased for outbound migrations but decreased for inbound migrations. However, cable activation did not appear to impact the success of either migration type in this species.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States)
  2. Electric Power Research Inst. (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Electric Power Research Inst. (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1406896
Report Number(s):
FINAL REPORT, DOE-EPRI-EE0006382
OCS Study BOEM 2016-041
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006382
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; submerged DC power cable; DC magnetic fields; fish migration; field modeling; MHK; WPTO; Wave; Tidal

Citation Formats

Klimley, A. P., Wyman, M. T., and Kavet, Rob. Assessment of Potential Impact of Electromagnetic Fields from Undersea Cable on Migratory Fish Behavior. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1406896.
Klimley, A. P., Wyman, M. T., & Kavet, Rob. Assessment of Potential Impact of Electromagnetic Fields from Undersea Cable on Migratory Fish Behavior. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1406896
Klimley, A. P., Wyman, M. T., and Kavet, Rob. Wed . "Assessment of Potential Impact of Electromagnetic Fields from Undersea Cable on Migratory Fish Behavior". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1406896. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1406896.
@article{osti_1406896,
title = {Assessment of Potential Impact of Electromagnetic Fields from Undersea Cable on Migratory Fish Behavior},
author = {Klimley, A. P. and Wyman, M. T. and Kavet, Rob},
abstractNote = {The US Department of Energy and US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management commissioned this study to address the limited scientific data on the impacts of high voltage direct current cables on aquatic biota, in particular migratory species within the San Francisco Bay. Empirical evidence exists that marine animals perceive and orient to local distortions in the earth’s main geomagnetic field magnetic field. The electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by the cables that carry electricity from hydrokinetic energy sources to shore-based power stations may produce similar local distortions in the earth’s main field. Concern exists that animals that migrate along the continental shelves might orient to the EMF from the cables, and move either inshore or offshore away from their normal path. The Trans Bay Cable (TBC) is a ±200-kilovolt (kV), 400 MW 85-km long High Voltage Direct Current (DC) buried transmission line linking Pittsburg, CA with San Francisco, CA (SF) through the San Francisco Bay. The study addresses the following specific questions based on measurements and projections of the EMF produced by an existing marine cable, the TBC, in San Francisco Bay. Specifically, does the presence of EMF from an operating power cable alter the behavior and path of bony fishes and sharks along a migratory corridor? Does the EMF from an operating power cable guide migratory movements or pose an obstacle to movement? To meet the main study objectives several activities needed to be carried out: 1) modeling of the magnetic fields produced by the TBC, 2) assessing the migratory impacts on Chinook salmon smolts (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) as a result of local magnetic field distortions produced by bridge structures and 3) analyzing behavioral responses by migratory Chinook salmon and green sturgeon to a high-voltage power cable. To meet the first objective, magnetic field measurements were made using two submerged Geometrics magnetometers towed behind a survey vessel in four locations in the San Francisco estuary along profiles crossing the cable path. We applied basic formulas to describe magnetic field from a DC cable summed vectorially with the background geomagnetic field (in the absence of other sources that would perturb the ambient field) to derive characteristics of the cable not immediately or otherwise observable. The magnetic field profiles of 76 survey lines were regressed against the measured fields, representing eight days of measurement. Many profiles were dominated by field distortions caused by bridge structures or other submerged objects, and the cable contribution to the field was not detectable. The regressions based on fundamental principles (Biot Savart law) and the vectorial summation of cable and geomagnetic fields provide estimates of cable characteristics consistent with plausible expectations. For the second objective, detailed gradiometer survey were examined. Distortions in the earth’s main field produced by bridges across the estuary were much greater than those from the TBC. The former anomalies exceeded the latter by an order of magnitude or more. Significant numbers of tagged Chinook salmon smolts migrated past bridges, which produced strong magnetic anomalies, to the Golden Gate Bridge, where they were recorded by dual arrays of acoustic tag-detecting monitors moored in lines across the mouth of the bay. Adult green sturgeon successfully swam upstream and downstream through the estuary on the way to and from their spawning grounds. Hence, the large anomalies produced by the bridges that run perpendicular to these migration routes do not appear to present a strong barrier to the natural seasonal movement patterns of salmonid smolts and adult green sturgeon. Finally, to assess the behavioral responses by migratory Chinook salmon and green sturgeon to a high- voltage power cable - the potential impacts effect of the TBC on fishes migrating through the San Francisco Estuary were examined. These included late-fall run Chinook salmon smolts (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) that migrate downstream through the San Francisco Estuary to the Pacific Ocean and adult green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), which migrate upstream from the ocean through the estuary to their spawning habitat in the upper Sacramento River and return to the ocean after spawning occurs. Our results indicate Chinook salmon smolts may be attracted to the cable after activation (more cable location crossings, more detections at Bay Bridge, high importance of distance to cable in predicting fish location), but are not impeded from successfully migrating through the San Francisco Bay (similar proportions of successful exits, faster transit rates). Cable activity had opposite effects on outbound and inbound green sturgeon migrations: outbound migrations had significantly longer transit times while inbound migrations had significantly shorter migration times. However, the proportion of green sturgeon that successfully migrated through the San Francisco Bay was not strongly impacted after cable activation for either migration type. Based on the work, we provide the following conclusions: 1) calculations of magnetic fields for assessment of marine life can be performed; however, local anomalies in the fields resulting from submerged structures require validation of such calculations through collection of ambient DC magnetic field data, 2) the large anomalies produced by the bridges that run perpendicular to these migration routes do not appear to present a strong barrier to the natural seasonal movement patterns of salmonid smolts and adult green sturgeon and 3) Chinook salmon smolts may be attracted to the activated cable based on analysis of cable crossing, misdirections, and first presence at the array data, however, the cable activation does not appear to change the proportion of smolts that successfully migrate through the San Francisco Bay. Cable activation impacts inbound and outbound migrating adult green sturgeon: travel time was increased for outbound migrations but decreased for inbound migrations. However, cable activation did not appear to impact the success of either migration type in this species.},
doi = {10.2172/1406896},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1406896}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {9}
}