Science Advisory Report  2011/040

Musquash Estuary: A Proposed Monitoring Framework for the Marine Protected Area and Intertidal Area Administered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada


  • The scope of the Science Advisory Report is on proposed indicators, strategies, and protocols for monitoring the Musquash Estuary, and is not limited to the Marine Protected Area (MPA) and Administered Intertidal Area (AIA) boundaries. The implementation of monitoring, however, may not be undertaken on the scale of the estuary, and this is to be determined at a later date dependent on factors such as partnerships and availability of resources, to name a few.
  • Fifteen indicators have been proposed to monitor the conservation objectives that have been established for managing the MPA and AIA. A range of strategies and protocols have also been proposed to monitor each of the identified indicators. The proposed strategies and protocols are either currently underway in the estuary or may reasonably be implemented at this time.
  • A lack of baseline data exists for many aspects of the Musquash Estuary ecosystem, thus, the proposed indicators are general guidelines (i.e. not detailed), with the range of monitoring strategies and protocols being proposed as a first step to evaluating the indicators in tandem with improving the baseline knowledge. As baseline information improves and the proposed strategies and protocols are implemented, tested, and evaluated some of the indicators may be refined or dropped and others added, as appropriate. This may help reduce the sources of uncertainty that currently surround understanding of the functioning of the estuary and the likelihood and impact that human activities may have (or be having) on the ecosystem.
  • Threats in Musquash Estuary may arise from proposed human activities not only in the MPA and AIA, but also from activities outside of the MPA and AIA. As such, activities proposed for neighbouring lands, in the greater Musquash watershed, and adjacent coastal areas of the Bay of Fundy may also need to be evaluated for their zone of influence and perceived threats to the MPA and AIA prior to their approval.
  • Discussion of the specific threats to the structure and function of the Musquash Estuary ecosystem was not the focus of the meeting, although it was recognized that monitoring the threats is key to understanding potential impacts to the ecosystem. Such threats have been identified and discussed at previous workshops (e.g. Rangeley and Singh, 2000; Singh and Buzeta, 2007; Davies et al., 2008).
  • Recommendations on potential monitoring indicators and appropriate protocols and strategies for the Musquash Estuary are proposed.  In addition, governance and data management for effective monitoring are considered, but are discussed in more detail in the CSA Research Document that accompanies this CSA Science Advisory Report.

This Science Advisory Report is from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, regional advisory meeting of 9-10 December 2010 on the review of the draft Musquash Estuary Marine Protected Area (MPA) and Administered Intertidal Area (AIA) Monitoring Framework  Additional publications from this process will be posted as they become available on the DFO Science Advisory Schedule.

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