Environmental Effects Monitoring Program Annual Report 2019

This report provides a summary of monitoring activities and data analysis completed at the FORCE site for 2019. In addition to other ongoing monitoring programs, this includes:

  • Analysis, recently completed by the University of Maine, of fifteen hydroacoustic fish surveys conducted in the Minas Passage between 2011-2017 as part of FORCE’s Environmental Effects Monitoring Program (Appendix IV);
  • Completion of the field component for the comparative passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) study, which aims to understand how well multiple PAM devices (C-POD, F-POD, SoundTrap, icListenHF, and AMAR) perform compared to each other across the range of tidal flows experienced at the FORCE site;
  • Analysis of data collected by hydrophones mounted on the Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures turbine, looking at the flow noise (noise generated by the movement of the water) and its impact on the instruments in differing locations (Appendix IX);
  • Commissioning Envirosphere Consultants Ltd. to survey the wetland zone at the FORCE site. Botanical surveys have been ongoing since 2011 as part of FORCE’s Wetlands Alteration Approval (issued by NS Environment). The 2019 survey demonstrated that the wetland has now recovered from the trenching activities associated with cable installation in 2011, and as such this was the final year of wetlands monitoring (Appendix X);
  • Collaborative work with TriNav Fisheries Consultants Ltd. to redesign FORCE’s lobster monitoring program based on regulatory feedback. The new program approach incorporates a combination of modified commercial lobster traps and tagging efforts (Appendix XI);
  • Work in collaboration with OERA to advance ‘The Pathway Program’ to identify effective and regulator-approved monitoring solutions for the tidal energy industry in Nova Scotia:
    • Commissioning subject matter experts to conduct comprehensive literature reviews about the use of different classes of environmental monitoring technologies such as PAM, imaging sonars, and echosounders for monitoring tidal energy devices around the world;
    • Work with DeepSense (Dalhousie University) to automate the post-processing of hydroacoustic fish survey data;
    • Working in collaboration with Sustainable Marine Energy Canada (SME) to assess the capabilities of different classes of environmental monitoring technologies in high flow environments.

In addition, the report also highlights findings from international research efforts, previous data collection periods at the FORCE site, and additional research work that is being conducted by FORCE and its partners. This includes supporting fish tagging efforts with Acadia University and the Ocean Tracking Network, radar research projects, and subsea instrumentation platform deployments through the Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) Program. Finally, the report presents details regarding future research and monitoring efforts at the FORCE test site.