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BoFEP Reports

 A century of monitoring station Prince 6 in the St. Croix River estuary of Passamaquoddy Bay

by F. J. Fife, R. L. M. Goreham and F. H. Page.  June 8, Oceans Day, 2015. 165 pages.

 A collaborative project involving Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Passamaquoddy people, and Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership

The purpose of this project is to improve understanding of the diversity, concentration, and phenology of plankton populations in St. Croix Estuary, an integral part of Passamaquoddy Bay and of the Quoddy region.

Passamaquoddy Bay in southwest New Brunswick is known to be a productive area with fisheries such as scallop (Placopecten magellanicus), American lobster; (Homarus americanus), clam (Mya arenaria), crab (Cancer), sea weed (Laminaria, Fucus, and Palmaria palmate), sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), herring (Clupea harengus), and groundfish such as cod (Gadus morhua), haddock; (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), pollock (Pollachius virens),and flounder (Hippoglossus hippoglossus). This bay additionally provides spawning areas for a large number of fish species such as cod, haddock and pollock. Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) dolphin (Delphinus) and minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) are often sighted in the region. Outside Passamaquoddy Bay, in the Bay of Fundy is an important bird area where whales such as fin (Balaenoptera physalus), right (Eubalaena glacialis) and sperm (Physeter catadon) have been found (Chang et al, 2005; anon, 1982). Two of the largest fish in the Atlantic: the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) have also been found here.

Ecosystem monitoring in the Bay of Fundy began in 1916. Hydrographic (sea surface temperature, salinity, tidal state, water colour), weather (air temperature, wind, fog), and biological (zooplankton) observations were made weekly at station Prince 6 in the St Croix River estuary from 1916 to 1944 and monthly thereafter. The depth of this monitoring site is about thirty meters and it is located in the middle of the St. Croix River between The St. Andrews Biological Station and Robbinston, Maine as shown in figure 1. Unfortunately, zooplankton catch data between the years 1916 to 1936 and from after 1970 has been lost.

Zooplankton populations studied in Passamaquoddy Bay in earlier years show the area to be rich in species and abundance indicating a productive region. Willey (1915) sampled the bay in July and August of 1912. McMurrich (1917) described the composition of plankton in winter around St Andrews. Legaré and McClellan (1960) sampled and described the zooplankton in great detail at seven stations within and seven stations outside of Passamaquoddy Bay forty three-times at regular intervals between January 1957 and December 1958. A detailed comparison of two stations; one outside of Passamaquoddy Bay and station Prince 6 in the estuary was done and Legaré (1961) discussed the phenology of several zooplankton taxa using catch data from 1937 to 1959, a time series of twenty-three years.

Differences of catch composition are, according to Willey (1915) “… both qualitative and quantitative and are as noteworthy when comparing different localities at the same time, as when comparing different seasons at one and the same station. Under these circumstances, in order to secure complete and reliable data respecting the periodic fluctuations of the Plankton, it is necessary to institute continuous series of observations at a given locality throughout at least one entire year, and better still through several successive years, after the manner adopted in recording meteorological conditions, with which the various planktological conditions are directly and intimately correlated.”

This report contains a one hundred year series of surface temperature and an eighty year series of surface salinity combined with a timeline of hurricanes that may have affected the St. Croix watershed.

The diversity, density and phenology of zooplankton from 2011 to 2015 and of icthyoplankton from 1937 to 1970 are presented and compared using the same plankton net size and mesh.

The vertical tow series is presented first with time versus logarithmic density plots as well as composite day of year versus logarithmic density plots. Presence absence is presented by month for the years 2012 to 2014 and as an overview taking into consideration all of the catch data from August of 2011 through to February of 2015. The two subsurface tow series are presented with time versus logarithmic density plots only. There are comparisons made between the fish larvae from both historic and contemporary series.

Research and good luck yielded preserved samples from between 1929 and 1972 from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Gatineau, Quebec. The preserved samples will be sorted and counted in order to validate the 1937 to 1970 invertebrate catch data and to extend the series by ten years. The results of these studies and of validated hydrographic data from below surface will be reported in planned data and technical publications.

There is a wealth of data, yet it remains largely unstudied and unavailable to the public and to decision makers. This represents a truly unique opportunity; time-series studies of this magnitude are rare, yet they are crucial to identification of long-term ecological trends and regime shifts as well as to the development of adaptive management strategies.

Complete Report in PDF format

Ecological Risk Assessment for the Bay of Fundy: DDT and Mercury
Angella Mercer and Karen A. Kidd, Canadian Rivers Institute and Biology Department University of New Brunswick, Saint John, NB
BoFEP Technical Report No. 9, June 2015, 159 pages.
The Bay of Fundy supports a high diversity of marine life and is an ecologically and economically critical resource for the region. Despite its importance, little is known about whether contaminants are currently threatening the species that inhabit the Bay. It has been more than three decades since the pesticide DDT was banned for use in North America. However, it can still be found in this region because of its persistence and because it is transported long distances in air and water currents from tropical areas where it is still used. Another contaminant of concern is mercury. In contrast to DDT, mercury is present naturally in the environment but its levels in aquatic systems and biota have also been affected by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels or mining. Both DDT and the organic form of mercury concentrate through aquatic food webs to levels that can cause health problems for fish eaters or the fish themselves. This report provides an overview on these two contaminants of concern, reviews the concentrations of DDT and Hg that have been measured in wildlife in the Bay of Fundy, and assesses whether these levels may be posing a risk to these species.
Bay of Fundy Risk Assessment for Hg and DDT Final

Ocean Health Index Score for the Southwest New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Marine Resources Planning Area
Final Report prepared for the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership by Scott Kidd, April 2016. The purpose of the OHI is to provide “a robust, widely applicable tool for ongoing assessment of ocean health based on well-accepted societal goals and a key benchmark against which to compare future progress and inform comprehensive ocean policy.”  As a test case, the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP) undertook a project to calculate scores for several OHI goals for the Southwest New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Marine Resources Planning Area (MRPA). The purpose of this report is to detail the outcomes of the project.
Ocean Health Index Score for the Southwest New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Marine Resources Planning Area [Final Report, April 2016, 66 pages]

–  Bay of Fundy Ocean Health Index.
 – OHI report feb 2016
–  BoFEP OHI Project Update

One hundred years of monitoring in the St. Croix Estuary
One hundred years of monitoring in the St. Croix Estuary provides insight into the decade to decade changes in sea surface temperature and surface salinity, helping researchers to better understand the timing of these seasonal cycles and how this might affect the dozens of plankton species inhabiting the area. One hundred years of monitoring in the St. Croix Estuary

Developing an Environmental Health Index for the Bay of Fundy
A literature review on environmental health indices (EHI) and a feasibility report on generating an EHI for the Bay of Fundy. Prepared by Kidd, S. 2013. Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership. 48 p. Full text PDF.

.Chemicals of emerging concern in the Bay of Fundy watershed: What are the risks?
Report on the chemicals that enter the environment through our wastewater. (summary) Prepared by Kidd, K.A. and A. Mercer. 2012.  Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership Technical Report No. 7.  16 pp. + appendices. Read full report here:  CECs-Kidd-Mercer-2012 Final 

.Introduction to BoFEP
PowerPoint presentation that provides a general introduction to BoFEP and its activities. Prepared by Communications Coordinator.2008. Complete BoFEP presentation [PowerPoint format 29.1MB].

.BoFEP – Current Challenges and Directions
PowerPoint presentation by BoFEP Chair at Steering Committee Meeting on July 22, 2008.  Complete presentation [PowerPoint format 6.9MB]

.Thirty Year Assessment of the Cornwallis Estuary Evolution: Aerial Photograph and GIS analysis
Report on an Internship project for the Minas Basin Working Group by Christian Perry-Giraud. “Environment, Ground and Water”, University of Rouen, France September 2005. 65+viii pages. Full text PDF.

.Minas Basin Watershed Profile
A compendium of socio-economic, demographic, land-use, resource use and other information from the region.. Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership Technical Report #2. Robin Wilcocks-Musselman 2003. 156 pages. Full text PDF.