Protected Species Program
A major part of BSEE's mission is protecting the environment offshore, including 'protected species.' BSEE does this by working with BOEM to develop mitigation measures as a component of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and incorporating information derived from biological assessments, biological opinions, and other science-based information as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The mitigation measures are developed into requirements attached to leases, plans, and permits as stipulations or conditions of permit approval to prevent harm from coming to our 'protected species.'
Protected species include those protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. On the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) these include sea turtles, cetaceans, polar bears, pinnipeds, and manatees just to name a few. OCS activities that have increased protected species monitoring and mitigations include seismic surveys, drilling operations and explosive removals of offshore structures. Noise from these activities is of particular concern to marine mammals as they use sound to communicate, navigate, and detect predators and prey
BSEE’s Environmental Compliance Program (ECP) oversees verification and enforcement of marine mineral and conventional and renewable energy activities on the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico (GOM), Pacific, and Alaska OCS, which encompasses the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, the Bering Sea, Cook Inlet, and the Gulf of Alaska. Activities vary by region both in the amount of activity and the protected species present.
BSEE ECP ensures that industry complies with all environmental laws, regulations, and relevant provisions, stipulations, and conditions placed on OCS leases, plans, and permits. There are a number of protected species requirements for industry operators when working on the OCS. These requirements are included in approvals or permits but may also be summarized in Notices to Lessees (NTLs). Regional requirements, protected species information, stranding contacts, and other resources are provided below.
Contact Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Immediately call the Southeast Region Stranding Network 24-Hour Hotline: 1-877-WHALE-HELP (1-877-942-5343)
What reporting requirements should be followed if a dead or injured sea turtle is spotted?
Report it to the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network State Coordinator. For all protected species, if the injury or death was caused by and industry vessel or activity, BSEE must be notified within 24 hours by email (email@example.com), in addition to notifying the appropriate stranding networks immediately.
Contact BSEE via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details as well as the local wildlife agency or marine law enforcement. A report may also be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via email at email@example.com
National/General Helpful Links
- NOAA Office of Protected Resources – Marine Mammals
- NOAA Office of Protected Resources – Sea Turtles
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Manatee Sighting Guidance
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Manatee Sighting Form
Gulf Of Mexico Region Links
- NOAA Southeast Regional Office – Protected Resources
- Cetacean Unusual Mortality Event in Northern Gulf of Mexico
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Sea Turtles
- NTL - Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program
- NTL - Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting
- NTL - Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination
Pacific Region Links
Alaska Region Links
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Alaska Endangered Species Information
- NMFS – Alaska Field Office, Protected Resources
- NMFS Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network
All marine turtle images taken in Florida were obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS),the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the U.S National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles