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Coastal Environmental Baseline Program projects in the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia

The following recipients are receiving $4,145,792 to undertake baseline data collection in the Port of Prince Rupert area.

Description Timeframe

Baseline conditions of nearshore habitats and shellfish populations, in Metlakatla traditional territory, in conjunction with the PollutionTracker program

Funding recipient: Metlakatla Stewardship Society

Project summary: This project will consist of a baseline study of shellfish, nearshore habitat and marine contaminants in Metlakatla traditional territory, including the Port of Prince Rupert and surrounding areas. The study will focus on data collection and characterization of various habitats and species (including shellfish), as well as the identification and measurement of contaminants in water, sediment and biota through the PollutionTracker program. These data may be used to support a framework on the cumulative effects of marine shipping, other environmental assessments and evidence-based decision-making.

4 years

Ecosystem characterization of juvenile salmon, zooplankton and eelgrass abundance

Funding recipient: Lax Kw'alaams Fishing Enterprises Ltd.

Project summary: This project will involve collecting data on key components of the coastal ecosystem within the traditional territory of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, including: juvenile salmon, clams, zooplankton and eelgrass. The data will provide information on the status of the coastal ecosystem, wildlife and environmental conditions in the Port of Prince Rupert and surrounding areas.

4 years

Ecosystem health of the Skeena River Estuary in the Port of Prince Rupert area

Funding recipient: Gitxaala Nation

Project summary: This project will involve collecting data to characterize the state of the coastal ecosystem in the Skeena River Estuary (within the traditional territory of the Gitxaala Nation), which includes the Port of Prince Rupert surrounding areas, with a focus on estuarine health. The Gitxaala Nation will undertake systematic data collection, focusing on sediment, water and tissue sampling, to better understand the health of the coastal environment. The project will strengthen Canada’s capacity for ocean science and contribute to baseline data for coastal areas in British Columbia with high vessel traffic while building the technical and scientific capacity of the Gitxaala Nation.

4 years

Characterizing phytoplankton, zooplankton, kelp beds and Eulachon in the Port of Prince Rupert surrounding area

Funding recipient: Kitsumkalum First Nation

Project summary: Researchers will gather data on key features of the local coastal ecosystem within the traditional territory of the Kitsumkalum First Nation. The data collected will contribute to characterizing the status of coastal ecosystem and environmental conditions in the Skeena River Estuary and Port of Prince Rupert surrounding area. It will focus specifically on detecting inter-annual variability in the abundance, composition and spatial-temporal distribution of Eulachon, plankton and kelp. The project will strengthen Canada’s capacity for ocean science and contribute to research on high vessel traffic in coastal areas of British Columbia while building the technical and scientific capacity of Kitsumkalum First Nation.

4 years

Kitselas Eulachon-related marine mammal and seabird baseline surveys in the Skeena River Estuary

Funding recipient: Kitselas Band Council

Project summary: This study will focus on gathering data on marine mammals, including Humpback Whales and Harbour Porpoises. Information on seabirds will also be collected to further characterize current ecosystem conditions in relation to Eulachon life stages, including seasonal migration and spawning. This information will be gathered through land-based point-count sighting surveys and vessel-based transect surveys of marine mammals and seabirds, along the Skeena River Estuary (Port of Prince Rupert surrounding area), within the traditional territory of the Kitselas Nation.

4 years

Marine Environmental Water Quality Program

Funding recipient: Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA)

Project summary: This project will expand the scope of PRPA’s Marine Environmental Water Quality program, which was developed to assess the impacts of port-related activities on marine water quality (e.g. heavy metal and organic contaminants, bacterial levels, oxygen concentrations). The study will involve more frequent field campaigns using new oceanographic equipment to provide higher accuracy and precision measurements, collected at higher vertical resolution than in previous PRPA studies.

4 years

North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative

Funding recipient: Ocean Wise Conservation Association – Vancouver Aquarium

Project summary: This project will involve collecting data for marine mammal baseline characterization, in the coastal waters of the area surrounding the Port of Prince Rupert, through standardized surveys of nearshore cetaceans, seasonal and spatial habitat use by Humpback Whales, and seasonal and daily patterns of habitat use by Harbour Porpoises, as well as public communication.

4 years
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