Long Term Marine Monitoring At The Site Of A Proposed LNG Export Facility In Northern BC

When preparing to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility near Kitimat, British Columbia, Chevron Canada worked with Archipelago to implement a long term marine monitoring program.

In 2012, Chevron Canada and Apache Canada announced a joint venture to build and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility at Bish Cove, near the Port of Kitimat, British Columbia. As part of a shared commitment to minimize any impact on the environment during the construction of this facility, Chevron Canada and Apache Canada stipulated that the project be developed with “world class” environmental monitoring and assessment practices designed to exceed the regulatory requirements of the Canadian and provincial governments.

In preparation for this project, Archipelago developed and implemented an ecosystem health assessment that would help the project team understand and benchmark the health of the local marine ecosystem prior to development. This program was successfully completed in 2013.

Long term marine monitoring program

In 2014, this earlier assessment served as a baseline for a long term marine monitoring program centering around the collection and analysis of synoptic water, sediment, and biota quality data in Bish Cove, Emsley Cove (as a reference site), Kitimat Arm, and two nearby creeks. This process involved a range of assessments:

  • Physical and chemical water quality (water sampling, CTD profiling, subsurface moored autologging data loggers)
  • Physical and chemical sediment quality (Van Veen and Ponar grab sampling)
  • Sedimentation rates and sources (sediment traps and isotope analysis)
  • Shoreline changes (intertidal biophysical surveys and sediment sampling)
  • Biotic tissue quality
  • Benthic infauna community composition and diversity (Van Veen grab sampling)
  • Eelgrass bed area, distribution, shoot density, and relative productivity (towed underwater video and SCUBA dive surveys)
  • Nearshore fish community composition and diversity (beach seine and purse seine surveys)
  • Creek health (water and sediment hand grab sampling and kicknet biota sampling pursuant to CABIN protocol)

Throughout the long term marine monitoring program, Archipelago maintained an emphasis on being responsive and adaptive to project changes and/or annual monitoring results to ensure the most appropriate suite of indicators was being monitored. Information collected during subsequent years of monitoring would serve as the basis for adaptive management planning during construction and operation of the new facility.

For more information on this project, visit the Chevron Canada Kitimat LNG project page