Protecting Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

Protecting Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

The Environmental Technical Working GroupLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. is one of the vehicles through which New York is developing best management practices to limit the effects of potential stressors on marine mammals and sea turtles, especially on highly vulnerable and endangered species such as the North Atlantic right whale. Some of the practices New York is considering include:

Man-made Sounds

  • Conduct pre-construction surveys with equipment that uses sound outside the range of marine mammal and sea turtle hearing
  • Perform construction during times of year when migratory marine mammals and sea turtles are less abundant
  • Check areas where construction will take place for marine mammals and sea turtles before and during construction activities
  • Limit daily duration of pile driving
  • Start pile drivers slowly at low energies to allow sound to build, giving animals a chance to move away from the sound
  • Use equipment and technologies designed to reduce the amount of sound at the source


  • Perform seasonal construction and maintenance activities during times when marine mammals and sea turtles are less abundant
  • Follow National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration guidance to avoid ship collision with whales
  • Reduce speeds to less than 10 knots and set approach limits
  • Stay in designated shipping traffic lanes and using as few ships as possible

Long-term Structures

  • Consider the distribution and behavior of marine mammals and sea turtles when siting structures
  • Prioritize endangered, threatened, and otherwise vulnerable species when siting