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.”
After the long wait, INSPIRE is moving to its permanent home at Innovate Newport on June 1st.
Formerly known as the Sheffield School, Innovate Newport is located at 513 Broadway. As an anchor tenant and Newport “native,” INSPIRE has been committed to the Innovate Newport project since its inception. Innovate Newport offers workspace for professionals and businesses, providing a connection and touchpoint to Newport’s vibrant downtown community. Billed as an incubator and co-workspace, Innovate will provide INSPIRE the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded innovators from synergistic sectors including design, engineering, and Blue Tech. We are excited to take part in this thriving community that Newport, and INSPIRE, are uniquely positioned to support.
Drew Carey is set to present at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2019, in Houston, TX, from May 6–9. Dr. Carey’s presentation will take place during the Offshore Renewables: Site Investigation Challenges for Environmental and Engineering Assessment technical session from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm on Thursday, May 9th. He will present a paper co-written with Fugro that discusses new approaches to offshore renewable energy site characterization using Sediment Profile Imaging (SPI) and Multibeam echosounder (MBES). This year marks the 50th year of the OTC, one of the leading conferences in offshore technology and development.
The INSPIRE team participated in the International Partnering Forum (IPF) for offshore wind in New York City last month. Hosted by the Business Network for Offshore Wind and attended by over 1,200 individuals, the conference provides an industry-focused forum for stakeholders representing all facets of offshore wind development. Drew Carey, Jeanine Boyle, Marisa Guarinello, Brian Gervelis, and Dustin Varnell met with developers, engineers, environmental consultants, attorneys, and State and Federal agencies at INSPIRE’s booth and in one-on-one sessions to explain how SPI technology has been used to develop BOEM-compliant benthic assessments and support G&G ground truthing in support of wind farm planning and permitting at multiple U.S. sites.
On Thursday, Drew and Jeanine participated in an international meeting of over 25 Dutch and U.S. leaders in offshore wind to assess best practices and lessons learned from 25 years of development in the Netherlands and the North Sea. Drew presented INSPIRE’s work at the Block Island Wind Farm as an example of U.S. practices for environmental monitoring.
Out of over 500 nominations, INSPIRE’s Ana Marroquim was awarded Shell’s Upstream Impact Award for performance in safety leadership. As part of an AECOM team working for Shell, Ana was awarded this distinction for exemplary work supporting the permitting for offshore drilling operations off the coast of Mexico. The developed Environmental Baseline Survey (EBL) was conducted for several leased areas and included both water column and seafloor sampling. Ana’s focus on health, safety, security, and the environment while reporting EBL results and engaging with the marine crew, survey team, AECOM management, and Shell management garnered her this notable recognition.
SPI, a driving technology at INSPIRE, has finally made it into the books! Soon to appear in the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, literature with INSPIRE’s Dr. Kersey Sturdivant as co-author has been published. Sampling Techniques for the Marine Benthos, currently available online (here), can shed some light on what makes SPI technology so unique.
Reuscher, M.G., P.A. Montagna, and S.K. Sturdivant. 2019. Sampling Techniques for the Marine Benthos. In: J.K. Cochran, H. J. Bokuniewicz, and P. L. Yager, Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, 3rd Edition, 2:752-764.
This past week Dr. Drew Carey co-chaired the panel for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) during their annual meeting in Brussels. ICES is the world’s oldest intergovernmental science organization and Dr. Carey joined the conversation between international scientists moving forward to ensure the health of coastal and offshore marine ecosystems among a rapidly expanding renewable energy economy. Meeting annually over a three-year period, the WGMBRED working group develops working plans and guidance concerning the effects of offshore wind energy and development on local fisheries and seafloor ecosystems. National leadership around the North Atlantic Ocean—including the United States and the EU—look to the guidance developed by this working group to further pursue offshore renewable energy interests while managing the ocean’s shared resources. Dr. Carey will join WGMBRED next year, and the work completed by this group will continue to aid future research in this area, where the complex relationships between energy developments influence the benthic communities along coastlines around the world.
Next year the working group is headed to Rhode Island! WGMBRED is scheduled to reconvene at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography in April 2020.
We are attending Battelle’s Tenth International Conference on Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments on February 11-14. Principal Scientist Kersey Sturdivant will present a paper co-written with INSPIRE founder, Joe Germano titled, Trapped in Plato’s Cave: Benthic Indices and the Illusion of Objectivity. Kersey is also chairing an exciting session on Data Visualization.
INSPIRE’s Marisa Guarinello will be presenting recent projects that demonstrate the utility of Sediment Profile and Plan View Imaging as a sediment management tool. Steve Sabo will also be demonstrating our innovative data visualization tools to interested conference-goers.
This biannual conference is attended by over 1,000 scientists, engineers, regulators, remediation site owners, and environmental professionals, representing universities, government agencies, consultants, and R&D and service firms from over 20 countries. The technical scope for the 2019 Sediments Conference focuses on emerging issues and initiatives in sediments remediation and management.