Estimating Effects of Tidal Power Projects and Climate Change on Threatened and Endangered Marine Species and Their Food Web
D.Shallin Busch,* ‡ Correigh M.Greene,† and Thomas P. Good*
*Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2725 Montlake Boulevard E, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A. †Fish Ecology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2725 Montlake Boulevard E, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A.
Marine hydrokinetic power projects will operate as marine environments change in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We considered how tidal power development and stressors resulting from climate change may affect Puget Sound species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and their food web. We used risk tables to assess the singular and combined effects of tidal power development and climate change. Tidal power development and climate change posed risks to ESA-listed species, and risk increased with incorporation of the effects of these stressors on predators and prey of ESAlisted species. In contrast, results of a model of strikes on ESA-listed species from turbine blades suggested that few ESA-listed species are likely to be killed by a commercial-scale tidal turbine array. We applied scenarios to a food web model of Puget Sound to explore the effects of tidal power and climate change on ESA-listed species using more quantitative analytical techniques. To simulate development of tidal power, we applied results of the blade strike model. To simulate environmental changes over the next 50 years, we applied scenarios of change in primary production, plankton community structure, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, and freshwater flooding events. No effects of tidal power development on ESA-listed species were detected from the food web model output, but the effects of climate change on them and other members of the food web were large. Our analyses exemplify how natural resource managers might assess environmental effects of marine technologies in ways that explicitly incorporate climate change and consider multiple ESA-listed species in the context of their ecological community.