The Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) Workgroup (WG) was chartered on 11 May 2011, and was given three objectives to complete within the limits of available resources: 1) Determine whether the Coast Guard should initiate actions to modify or create safety fairways, Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs) or other routing measures; 2) Provide data, tools and/or methodology to assist in future determinations of waterways suitability for proposed projects; and 3) Develop, in the near term, Automatic Identification System (AIS) products and provide other support as necessary to assist Districts with all emerging coastal and offshore energy projects. The WG published an Interim Report dated 13 July 2013 with the status of efforts up to that date. The WG concluded that modeling and analysis tools, as described in the Phase 3 section of the report, were critical to determine if routing measures are appropriate and to evaluate the changes in navigational safety risk resulting from different siting and routing scenarios.
Cumulative Impacts of Wind Farms
One of the primary objectives of conducting a PARS for the entire Atlantic Coast was assessing the cumulative impacts of multiple winds farms on the marine transportation system. As wind farms are developed, vessel traffic will be displaced and may also be funneled into smaller areas, increasing vessel density with a concurrent increase in risk of collision, loss of property, loss of life, and environmental damage. Evaluating the cumulative impacts is also important to understand the cascading effects of how one wind farm may change the routes and approaches to the next port or the next wind development area. Predicting how vessels would alter routes given new obstructions can be described in a qualitative manner; however, analytically determining cumulative impacts, and quantifying the resultant change in navigational risk remains beyond the capability of the WG.