Shoreline Environmental Baseline Surveys in Placentia Bay, NL: A shoreline characterization and assessment of biogeochemistry, nutrients, coliforms, and hydrocarbons
Placentia Bay, on the Southeast coast of Newfoundland is formed by the Burin Peninsula on the west and the Avalon Peninsula on the East, and is the largest bay in Newfoundland. It has been identified as a Priority Area for Integrated Management Planning by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in part due to its status as one of Canada’s largest marine oil handling areas. This coastal area is critical to the future economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador for marine activities such as commercial fishing and aquaculture, fabrication, refining, transportation, and tourism potential. The unique geomorphology of the coast and influence of Gulf Stream waters make Placentia Bay productive habitat for marine life. This marine ecosystem is home to hundreds of species, and has provided a sustainable livelihood for indigenous people and settlers for hundreds of years. Sustainable development in this area relies upon an understanding of the health and condition of the Placentia Bay marine and coastal environment, and baseline data is an important first step in detecting changes related to management and external impacts. NAACAP’s role in Placentia Bay is to fill a recognised data-gap by collecting and supplying baseline data for one of the six important marine ecosystem areas in the country that currently experience a high volume of traffic within the Federal Government’s Oceans Protection Plan.
Map: Real-Time Marine Traffic in Placentia Bay (source: marinetraffic.com)
To provide scientific data pertaining to the current state of the Placentia Bay, NAACAP is embarking upon a Shoreline Environmental Baseline Program focused on assessing shoreline character and seawater properties. The sampling program will be carried out at 8 representative coastal sites around the Bay, 4-times per year, over a 3 ½ -year period from October 2018 to March 2022.