CetSound Symposium

On May 23rd and 24th at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington DC, the near-final draft CetMap and SoundMap products were presented to an audience of ~170 people that included participants from government agencies, regulated industries, independent scientists, environmental consultancies and conservation advocacy groups.

The final agenda for the Symposium describes how the meeting was structured around presentations, interactive sessions, panel discussions, and breakout groups.

Day 1 of the two-day Symposium began by introducing the effort and its relationship to multiple management contexts and moved quickly to showcasing the working group products themselves. These new geospatial tools were presented both in overview presentations and through interactive sessions that allowed participants to access the tools via a web portal while working group members circulated for discussion, followed by a targeted panel discussion.

Day 2 of the Symposium began with seven presentations exploring different ways that the working group products, together, independently, or in conjunction with other emerging risk assessment methodologies, could be applied to management decisions in the context of four specific management frameworks that were described on Day 1 (Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Ocean Planning). Day 2 also ended with a panel discussion and breakout groups that were focused on getting targeted stakeholder input on how the working group products can or should be used in management decisions.

The working group members and Symposium planners would like to thank the participants for their enthusiastic participation and thoughtful feedback. Overall, panelists and participants seemed to agree that the tools that were developed and presented offer a positive step towards better addressing the cumulative impacts of human-induced sound on marine mammals. However, participants also discussed a range of outstanding questions and development opportunities for these tools and clearly emphasized the need for maintenance and growth of the products to ensure continued and maximized utility for supporting ocean use policy choices.

Symposium Final Report

The Symposium Final Report provides a summary of the meeting and invited presentations. The table of contents for the report is listed below.

Final Report Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Day 1: Overview

  • CetSound Effort: Overview
  • Executive Summary SoundMap Working Group: Overview
  • CetMap Working Group: Overview

Interactive Sessions: Overview

SoundMap Working Group: Summary

CetMap Working Group: Summary

Invited Presentations - Management Contexts: Overview

Presenters Written Summaries:

  • U.S. Endangered Species Act: Craig Johnson, NOAA
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act : Jolie Harrison, NOAA
  • Ocean Planning: Spatial Data and Tools to Support Ocean Planning: David Stein, NOAA
  • National Environmental Policy Act - Cumulative Impacts: Ellen Athas, NEPA

Discussion Panel 1: Overview

Panelists Written Summaries:

  • Bill Ellison, Marine Acoustics Inc
  • Bill Streever, British Petroleum
  • Rob Williams, University of St. Andrews
  • Bob Gisiner, United States Navy

Day 2: Overview

Invited Presentations - Potential Management Applications: Overview

Presenters Written Summaries:

  • Cetacean Mapping Applications: Risk Assessment and Identification of Priority Habitat: Jessica Redfern, NOAA
  • Including underwater noise in assessments of cumulative impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems: Carrie Kappel, NCEAS
  • Integrating underwater sound and cetacean density estimates into regional coastal and marine spatial planning: new dimensions for analysis: Pat Halpin & Jesse Cleary, Duke University
  • Endangered species, cumulative impact assessment, and potential applications of CetMap and SoundMap: Craig Johnson, NOAA
  • Cumulative Noise Footprints over Multiple Scales: From bottom to top, from noise to biological influences: Christopher Clark, Cornell University
  • Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance (PCAD): Future Applications: Michael Weise, ONR
  • Modeling nonpoint sources of sound to support acoustic resource management in U. S. National Parks: Kurt Fristrup Dan Mennitt, and Kirk Sherrill, NPS

Discussion Panel 2: Overview

Panelists Written Summaries:

  • Michael Jasny, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Kathy Metcalf, Chamber of Shipping of America
  • Tim Ragen, Marine Mammal Commission
  • Bill Streever, British Petroleum

Breakout Group Discussions: Overview

Written Summary of Group Recommendations for:

  • Q1 describe uses for these products
  • Q2 caveats and limitations
  • Q3 mechanisms for product maintenance
  • Q4 technical improvements that should be prioritized
  • Q5 visual improvements of products
  • Q6 potential expansions beyond these products
  • Q7 valuable applications to management frameworks
  • Q8 the benefits and challenges of setting "managing quiet" as the conservation goal
  • Q9 benefits and challenges of setting "minimize cumulative impacts to marine mammal populations" as the conservation goal
  • Q10 benefits and challenges of setting "minimize cumulative impacts to ecosystems from multiple chronic stressors, including noise" as the conservation goal

Conclusions and Recommendations


  • APPENDIX A: List of Acronyms
  • APPENDIX B: Meeting Agenda
  • APPENDIX C: Committee and Working Group Participation
  • APPENDIX D: List of Symposium Participants