Stripperguide, it was approved 7 years ago, but they had a lot of work to do to supposedly prove that this will not harm fish habitat and will continue not to harm the entire ecosystem when the brine is being dumped. I cannot find where this has been proved, and they will be pumping brine within a month or two.
SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL
REGISTRATION DOCUMENT FOR THE PROPOSED ALTON
NATURAL GAS STORAGE PROJECT
Maritimes Region Alton Natural Gas Storage Project
Scientific Review of the May 16, 2007 “Striped Bass Egg and Larvae Monitoring
Based on the information that is known about the Shubenacadie-Stewiacke striped bass
population, DFO Science has suggested an alternative monitoring and evaluation approach.
These suggestions are intended to improve the basis for assessing the feasibility of mitigating
the effects of the brine discharge process, for age 0+ year diadromous fishes, including striped
Some things which are known about the Shubenacadie-Stewiacke striped bass population
• striped bass eggs will occur in abundance within the vicinity of the proposed area of
• there is substantive inter-annual variability in timing and duration of the spawning
• spawning is triggered when water temperatures rise to approximately 16°C,
• spawning events can be of very short duration (e.g., measured in hours and possibly
minutes on some days), and
• spawning events are largely independent of the spring-neap cycle, as was hypothesized
by Rulifson and Tull (1999).
These features (i.e., listed above) indicate that while a predictive basis (e.g., real time water
temperature data) to scheduling water extraction and/or brine release around striped bass
spawning activity is feasible,
1) a high degree of active management would be required, and
2) it would probably not satisfactorily minimize risk of entrainment and/or exposure to brine to
not only the eggs but to larvae and young juveniles.
It is suggested that the simplest and safest recourse is not to allow activities associated with the
dilution and discharge of brine to take place during the striped bass spawning season. Late April
to early July is a sensitive period for most of the other local populations of diadromous fish
species, for spawning (e.g., alewife, blueback herring, American shad, Atlantic silversides,
rainbow smelt), for outmigration (e.g., inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon smolts), or recruitment
to the river (e.g., American eel elvers). Collectively, these processes represent a level of
biological complexity that could not easily be accommodated within a mitigation framework.
Therefore, it is suggested that the proponent focus on monitoring and evaluation activities that
can be linked to specific actions that would be taken to mitigate the effects on very young fish.
As stated in the proposal, these actions are entrainment into the water intake and the brine
dilution facility, and exposure to effluent from the facility.
It is doubtful that any information concerning the effects of exposure to brine (at varying
concentrations) is available for any or most of the diadromous species present within the
Shubenacadie River Estuary. However, the infrastructure and expertise to assess the effects of
exposure to brine on juvenile diadromous fish is available at a local university. The need to look
at exposure effects would be contingent upon the relative difference between the chemical
composition of the brine and seawater occurring naturally in the river. If the proponent cannot
produce information that shows the chemical properties of the brine at the point of discharge:
a) does not differ from that of seawater, and
would not harm fish at the proposed dilution, upon release into the river,
then it is recommended that studies be scheduled to assess both the lethal and sub-lethal
effects of exposure, minimally on juvenile striped bass.
None of the above is intended to imply that fulfillment of the activities recommended in this
document will address all fish conservation issues. Rather the suggestions should be regarded
as advice on where the proponent might more effectively direct their monitoring activities in
The Shubenacadie River Estuary at the proposed location of water withdrawal and discharge for
the Alton Salt Dome project is a dynamic receiving environment possessing a high level of
natural variability, which has not been fully characterized within the Environmental Registration
document. Existing uncertainties associated with natural variability in the underlying physical
and climatological dynamics of, and their interaction within, the receiving environment
complicate the task of prediction of potential environmental effects on aquatic ecosystem
components. Both the design and implementation of measures to mitigate the impacts to
aquatic ecosystem components, such as the timing of brine discharge, may be therefore equally
Given the presence of a species listed as endangered species under the Species at Risk Act
(inner Bay of Fundy salmon) and other regionally rare and sensitive species (striped bass and
Atlantic sturgeon), it is expected that a lower than average level of risk tolerance may be applied
to projects proposed for this environment. At present, the Environmental Registration document
contains insufficient information to enable full evaluation and risk assessment of the potential
impacts to aquatic ecosystem components, including species at risk.
Given that advice has not been provided by DFO Maritimes Science on this type of project in
the past, and given that this is only a preliminary evaluation of the information contained within
the Environmental Registration, it is recommended that a DFO-led scientific peer review
meeting be conducted to more fully evaluate the scientific and technical information available for
this project, to discuss additional mitigation and monitoring options, to determine what
information may be required (if any) to address outstanding knowledge gaps.