Underwater Sound Levels Associated with Marine Pile Driving – Assessment of Impacts and Evaluation of Control Measures

This paper describes how the effect on fish and marine mammals of underwater sound pressure levels generated by pile driving in or near bodies of water has recently become an issue of major importance for those construction projects in the marine environment that involve impact pile driving. The paper describes how mortalities and injuries to fish have occurred in association with pile driving for bridge projects in San Francisco Bay. With this recent discovery, several bridge projects have been delayed in order to re-consult with resource agencies in order to develop minimization measures to avoid or reduce adverse effects to listed species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On the Pacific Coast, there is frequently no available time window in which pile driving can be performed without adversely affecting ESA-listed species and Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) managed species. Additional information and clear acoustical thresholds for pile driving in aquatic environments are needed to protect these species and aid in the proper design of impact minimization methods. These acoustical thresholds are needed to facilitate project consultation with both State and federal resource agencies. The use of these clearly defined thresholds and compliance protocols would facilitate the timely and cost effective completion of pile-driving operations in aquatic environments. Impacts to fish species attributable to pile driving in aquatic environments is an environmental issue of national significance, and is especially significant on the Pacific Coast due to the large number of listed salmon and steelhead fish species. Transportation departments in California, Oregon, and Washington and the Federal Highway Administration concur that the effects on fish populations from pile-driving activities needs immediate attention. This paper describes the findings to date, in summary form, for many different projects in and around the San Francisco Bay Area and the performance of attenuation systems is described for several different projects in the region.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 286-294
  • Monograph Title: Noise-Con 04. The 2004 National Conference on Noise Control Engineering

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01054152
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2007 4:47PM