A Vancouver group will establish baseline water quality data for Baynes Sound in British Columbia as part of the application process for a new coal mine, according to the Vancouver Island University Center for Shellfish Research.
Researchers at the Center for Shellfish Research will use biological indicators and data from monitoring technology to assess the health of Baynes Sound. Canadian authorities will reference the information before approving the mine. The baseline will also be used as a gauge to monitor the sound for environmental impacts if the mine is approved.
Scientists at the center are “well aware” of controversy concerning the Raven Underground Coal Project, but they will not choose a side. Instead, they want to maintain neutral and scientific.
Three sites will be monitored. Researchers will monitor water temperature, salinity, specific conductance, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and metal content every two months. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons will be monitored yearly when water flow is at its lowest point.
Researchers will collect Pacific oysters and Manila clams, which filter feed. The shellfish should act as an indicator species for metals and hydrocarbons in the water.
Image: Boats anchored in Baynes Sound (Credit: Vancouver Island University Deep Bay Marine Field Station, via Flickr)