May 20, 2020 – Boston, MA The Baker-Polito Administration, in partnership with the State of Rhode Island and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), today announced grants worth $1.1 million to four institutions (INSPIRE Environmental, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island, and New Bedford Port Authority) to support regional fisheries studies that will collect data vital to the ongoing development of the offshore wind industry in North America. The first-in-the-nation studies will conduct important research on recreational and commercial fisheries, seabed habitat, and comparable offshore wind policies in Europe.
INSPIRE Environmental is attending Oceanology International in London in March! Find us at the Rhode Island Commerce Pavilion where we will be demonstrating our innovative approach using Sediment Profile Imaging to provide rapid, integrated assessments of benthic environments for offshore wind, oil & gas, and contaminated sediments. As part of the delegation representing Rhode Island’s Blue Economy, we are looking forward to learning about new technologies and meeting potential partners at the show.
Kathy Vigness-Raposa has joined INSPIRE Environmental (Newport, Rhode Island), bringing experience in monitoring the impacts of offshore energy installations on marine mammals to the leading marine environmental company. She hails from Marine Acoustics, Inc., and will take on a leadership role as INSPIRE continues its current expansion into fisheries and acoustics.
“We’re really expanding our technical expertise by hiring a PhD-level senior scientist who is bringing more capability to our company, allowing us to serve our clients better,” says INSPIRE CEO Drew Carey.
INSPIRE Environmental is known for using SPI (Sediment Profile Imaging) cameras to assess and monitor the health of the seafloor. When combined with the INSPIRE team’s expertise in modeling seafloor habitats, data gleaned from SPI surveys help developers plan projects that minimally disturb the seafloor, leaving sensitive habitats intact.
Vigness-Raposa and INSPIRE Environmental first collaborated during the planning stages of the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF), working with local fishermen to map out potential impacts while coordinating with state and local regulators. They also monitored how seabed disturbance affected local fisheries and marine habitats once BIWF was operational.
“You know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these amazing SPI pictures really show what’s happening out there. We can look at spatial features of the ocean and ask: ‘how can we decrease the human footprint as much as possible on marine animals and seafloor habitats?’”
Dr. Kathy Vigness-Raposa
In a growing offshore energy sector, and by integrating expertise in acoustic impacts with their existing tried and tested workflows, INSPIRE is perfectly positioned to provide a holistic view of seafloor health and fisheries sustainability.
INSPIRE has worked national and international industry and government clients, including Deepwater Wind/Ørsted, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and British Petroleum (BP; INSPIRE mobilized following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to monitor seafloor recovery).
“As a company we are committed to quality, innovation, and to being a collaborative and responsive partner to our clients,” says COO Jeanine Boyle. “We’re excited to bring in someone with Kathy’s experience and caliber, someone who can promote both the science and our high level of client support.”