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Voisey's Bay Mine and Mill Environmental Assessment Panel Report

9 Marine Environment: Land-Based Effects

Because of the intricate shoreline around the site, the Project could cause environmental effects in five different bays, although the greatest concentration of interactions would occur in Anaktalak Bay. In addition, ships would be travelling along a corridor that runs out from Anaktalak Bay, around the end of Paul's Island and into the Labrador Sea.

This chapter focuses on the effects of Project discharges and land-based influences on the marine environment. The next chapter focuses on shipping.

In the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), VBNC indicated that four of the bays are made up of one or more basins, separated by shallower ledges or sills. Fine-grained sediments have accumulated in the deeper areas, which are covered by permanently cold water. Currents are generally weak; sediments in the deeper areas are moved mainly by storm and tide events. Water chemistry is similar in all five, except that Voisey's Bay exhibits slightly different characteristics due to larger freshwater input. Concentrations of metals and nutrients are typically very low. Sea ice, as a habitat for algae and zooplankton and as a scouring mechanism, plays an important role in the ecology of the shallower, inshore waters. VBNC indicated that the five-bay area does not include any unique habitat when viewed in the context of northern Labrador.

Nutrient input from the many streams and rivers and from the inshore Labrador Current help to make the coastal waters relatively productive. Phytoplankton and algae form the basis of the marine food chain. The food chain supports a variety of zooplankton, benthic invertebrates such as shrimp and scallops, and fish, including Arctic char that reside year round in the area's bays, streams and ponds; rock cod; and Atlantic salmon that migrate through. Marine mammals include polar bears and different species of seals and whales.

In Anaktalak Bay, VBNC would construct a port site covering approximately 70 hectares. This would include both a temporary and a permanent shipping dock, concentrate and fuel storage facilities, and a marshalling and equipment storage area. Both of the docks would require infilling, and the port site runoff would also be a source of sediment loading and of chemical and metal inputs through fugitive concentrate and hydrocarbon losses during loading and unloading operations. The Bay would also receive sediment loading from other Project activities via Little Reid Brook.

VBNC would discharge treated water from the milling operation, the Headwater Pond tailings basin and other site water management facilities into Edward's Cove at a 50-m depth through a 160-m-long diffuser.

The combined effects in Anaktalak Bay would therefore include sedimentation, the accumulation of metals in sediments and marine biota, concentrate and hydrocarbon loadings through chronic losses, changes in ice cover, and loss or alteration of intertidal and subtidal fish habitat.

In Throat Bay, the Project's effects during operations would include the release of water containing dissolved metals through dam seepage from the Headwater Pond tailings facility. In the post-decommissioning stage, once the water in Headwater Pond no longer needed treatment, the excess water would drain into Throat Bay.

Voisey's Bay receives the drainage from Reid Brook, which could be affected by a wide range of Project facilities and activities, and from the southern watersheds where the airstrip is located.

Once the underground began operating, Kangeklukuluk Bay would receive dam seepage from the North Tailings Basin and Kangeklualuk Bay would receive both dam seepage and excess water from the North Tailings Basin, which would be treated if required.

Potential accidents that were considered included concentrate or fuel spills at the loading dock, which would affect Anaktalak Bay (see Chapter 10, Marine Environment: Shipping), or the failure of a tailings dam, which could affect Kangeklualuk, Kangeklukuluk or Throat bays.

Perhaps VBNC's most prominent mitigative measure for the marine environment was the decision to locate the port site and effluent diffuser in Anaktalak Bay rather than the closer Voisey's Bay to prevent impacts on that biologically productive estuarine environment. VBNC would also collect port site drainage in a sedimentation pond, and implement a program to control discharges from all vessels while those vessels are at the port site. Other relevant mitigative measures have been described in previous chapters.

In predicting effects, VBNC addressed sedimentation, the accumulation of metals, eutrophication, and habitat alteration and loss in Anaktalak Bay; short-term sedimentation and salinity changes resulting from the pumpdown of the North Tailings Basin, and longer term accumulation of metals in Kangeklualuk Bay; and the accumulation of metals in Kangeklukuluk, Throat and Voisey's bays. The company predicted effects of accidental events for all locations.

Where habitat is destroyed through infilling at the port site, VBNC would negotiate habitat compensation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), so this is deemed to have no residual effect. Elsewhere, habitat alteration is rated as negligible because of the relatively slow rate of sedimentation, wide dispersal and the prediction that fine sediments would end up in the deepest parts of the basin.

During operations, the effects of metals accumulation in water, sediments and marine biota in Anaktalak Bay would reach their maximum in the first five years. However, they would remain below the relevant threshold concentrations for chronic effects in aquatic animals and are rated minor, as are the effects of treated effluent discharge in Kangeklualuk Bay, where maximum levels would be reached more slowly. The effects of metals accumulation from seepage and runoff during decommissioning and post-decommissioning in Kangeklualuk, Kangeklukuluk, Throat and Voisey's bays are predicted to reach their maximum levels mostly between 50 and 75 years after decommissioning, depending on the metal and the pathway. These effects are rated as negligible.

9.1 Marine Fish Habitat

Subsections 35(1) and (2) of the Fisheries Act applies to marine as well as freshwater habitat. This means that harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat cannot occur without authorization by DFO, which involves the negotiation of a compensation plan to ensure no net loss of productive fish habitat capacity.

The debate over the quantification of potential fish habitat loss extended to the marine as well as the freshwater environment (see Section 8.2). In its habitat quantification report, which was not part of the EIS, VBNC indicated that it expected the construction of the port facilities to destroy 20,000 m² of intertidal habitat, for which the company would need to negotiate habitat compensation arrangements. VBNC also expressed concern about what it saw as a lack of clear criteria for quantifying marine habitat and identifying potential HADD.

DFO acknowledged that it is still developing formal guidelines for determining HADD for the marine environment, and that methodologies for doing so are not as well defined as those used for the freshwater environment. Criteria are likely to be site specific, focusing on species and habitat issues that are important in the local area. DFO argued, however, that the information required for the HADD process in the marine environment was also required for environmental assessment.

The Labrador Inuit Association (LIA) questioned whether impacts on sea ice were considered when determining HADD. DFO indicated that it has no policy on this.

In general, the Panel considers that the marine HADD issues are more straightforward than the freshwater issues. The main cause of HADD would likely be the direct removal of habitat through the placement of port and diffuser facilities on the sea bottom, with presumably some sedimentation effects in the immediate vicinity. VBNC's pilot plant test results suggest that it would be able to achieve low rates of discharge for suspended solids - that is, rates around one fifth of the Metal Mining Liquid Effluent Regulations (MMLER) limit. DFO has indicated that it does not expect the effluent discharge to result in physical smothering of the benthos. Chemical alterations do not fall within the HADD process.

The Panel recognizes sea ice is an important part of the whole marine habitat complex, with respect to both primary productivity and marine mammals. The Panel acknowledges that it may be difficult to include sea ice within the HADD process, but agrees with LIA's position that the lack of regulatory protection for sea ice is a serious gap. This is one of the issues that LIA wishes to pursue with DFO through a marine management plan (see Chapter 17, Environmental Management).

The Panel did not receive information on the type of options that may be considered to compensate for the loss of marine fish habitat, and is therefore unable to comment on this aspect.

As with the freshwater environment, the Panel concludes that the primary purpose of the HADD process for the marine environment is to identify all possible ways to avoid HADD, and that a review of potential habitat compensation options would have enhanced the environmental assessment process. Recommendations 17 and 20 therefore apply both to the freshwater and the marine environments.

9.2 Dilution Modelling

For the diffuser discharges in Anaktalak Bay and Kangeklualuk Bay, VBNC used a numerical model (Princeton Ocean Model) with temperature, salinity, wind velocity, surface elevation and bathymetry inputs to calculate the spatial extent and dilution rate for the effluent plume. It ran each model for non-stratified winter water column conditions and stratified summer conditions at three different stages in the life of the Project. The results of this model then determined the predicted zone of influence, the changes to water column quality within that zone and the rate of sedimentation. Once the plume reached 1000:1 dilution it was deemed to be equivalent to ambient water quality conditions.

As input parameters, the model used effluent characteristics predicted by a consultant based on the performance of similar treatment plants elsewhere, rather than the maximum discharges as defined by MMLER limits.

DFO criticized the lack of supporting information provided, particularly with respect to the settling velocity of material in suspension. It also recommended that modelling take into account forcing mechanisms due to seasonal stratification variations, seasonal changes in estuarine circulation, fjord flushing rates and high frequency storm events. While, in the long term, some of these variations would result in wider dilution and dispersion of contaminants, DFO was concerned that there could be different short-term effects.

The Panel observes that VBNC, in applying the Princeton Ocean Model, arguably did not use a worst case scenario. A background report filed with the EIS predicted that the Project's effluent would contain significantly fewer contaminants than the levels permitted by the MMLER. Subsequent pilot-scale testing, as described in a subsequent report, suggested that the treatment plant proposed for the Project would be able to achieve even better results, although the Panel notes that full-scale operations under variable conditions cannot always produce the same results as pilot plants.

The Panel observes that metal concentrations in the water column within Edward's Cove are predicted to be at least two orders of magnitude lower than US Environmental Protection Agency criteria for protection from chronic effects. The Panel recognizes that many influences could affect the size and behaviour of the effluent plume, but it was not presented with a scenario suggesting that the Project would exceed these guidelines. It would also be possible to verify the water quality predictions, at different times of the year and during different weather events, within the Project's first year of operation, so that additional mitigation could be put into place very quickly, if required. VBNC would be required to monitor effluent characteristics and has committed to monitoring water quality within the zone of influence around the diffuser. The Panel therefore concludes that additional modelling is not required at this stage.

DFO suggested that, to reduce the footprint of the Project, VBNC reconsider its decision to locate a diffuser in Kangeklualuk Bay when the North Tailings Basin is constructed, and consider treating excess water in the main mill site plant and discharging it into Edward's Cove instead. As discussed in Chapter 6, the Panel notes that the North Tailings Basin might not be required. If it is, the Panel concurs with DFO's suggestion to reassess the need for a second diffuser. Such a reassessment should be carried out in consultation with Anaktalak Bay resource users through LIA, in the context of observed environmental effects in Edward's Cove during the first years of operation.

Recommendation 26

The Panel recommends that, if the North Tailings Basin is required during the underground phase, before approvals are given for its construction, VBNC prepare a report to review the environmental advantages and disadvantages of consolidating effluent discharge into Edward's Cove instead of constructing a second diffuser in Kangeklualuk Bay. The report should examine the results of the compliance and effects monitoring carried out for the existing Edward's Cove diffuser, and should be subject to review and recommendations by the Environmental Advisory Board.

9.3 Ecotoxicological Effects and the Metal Mining Liquid Effluent Regulations (MMLER)

The discharge of treated effluent from the diffusers in Anaktalak and Kangeklualuk bays falls under the MMLER, which are part of the Fisheries Act and administered on behalf of DFO by Environment Canada. These regulations, which specify maximum discharge concentrations for eight parameters including copper, nickel, total suspended matter and pH, are currently being revised. The new MMLER would likely be in place before the Project began. They will include mandatory requirements for environmental effects monitoring, and updated provisions for site-specific requirements, if these are needed to protect aquatic receiving environments.

At the hearings, participants discussed the ecotoxicological effects of Project discharges, particularly the current state of knowledge about such effects in a marine environment, in relation to the EIS predictions, the discharge limits specified by the MMLER and monitoring requirements. More research has been done relating to metal pathways in the freshwater environment, and there is generally more experience with mining effluents in freshwater. It appears that this would be the first mine to discharge effluent from a nickel-copper-cobalt processing operation into coastal waters.

Metals behave differently in the marine environment because of the presence of salt, different pH levels and other variations. These can affect the way metals are speciated, the extent to which they become or stay dissolved in the water column, and their tendency to attach to particles. One example, which DFO raised as a concern, is that the rate of flocculation may be higher in the marine environment. This would remove metals from the water column, but when the floc particles sank to the bottom, they could become attractive food items to animals in the benthic layer.

Environment Canada told the Panel that the current MMLER standards were based on best available technology, tested against evidence and data from freshwater situations. DFO observed that there is also a lack of research on a number of relevant issues in this area, including chronic toxicity effects of combined nickel-copper-cobalt effluents on marine biota and the effects of metal particles in the marine environment. It also questioned the possible effects of chemicals used in the milling process, especially in combination with the metals in the effluent. DFO also suggested that the Project would have ecotoxicological effects beyond the 1000:1 dilution zone.

To reduce what it saw as serious uncertainty, DFO suggested that VBNC do some short-term toxicity tests for typical organisms in the marine environment, including Arctic char in their marine phase. It also recommended the use of organ pathology monitoring, rather than body burden measurements, for two reasons: this method can show the combined effects of different contaminants, and it also captures the effect of the "hit and run" phenomenon, when contaminants cause a problem but don't remain in the animal. DFO argued that organ pathology would be an effective early warning mechanism. Harmful effects could be identified at the individual level long before they would have a chance to affect the population level.

In its response, VBNC pointed out that its modelling predictions show that the Project should easily meet the water and sediment quality guidelines developed by governments (of the US and Canada, respectively) to protect marine biota. The pilot effluent treatment program reinforces the EIS predictions by showing that VBNC should be able to achieve a high level of treatment throughout the life of the Project, producing an effluent that contains significantly fewer contaminants than the levels permitted by current MMLER standards. If monitoring indicated a problem, VBNC would be able to consider a number of options, such as substitution of chemicals, operation changes or treatment changes. VBNC disagreed with DFO's position on the use of organ pathology to monitor ecotoxicological effects, on the basis that it is not a reliable way to link cause and effect. It also contended that programs such as Aquatic Effects Technology Evaluation (AETE) and AQUAMIN were better suited to evaluating environmental quality criteria and guidelines than site-specific environmental assessments.

The Panel sees, in this discussion of ecotoxicological effects, three main questions.

  • How significant are the gaps in the current state of knowledge about the impacts of nickel-copper-cobalt effluents in the marine environment?
  • Would compliance with the MMLER provide sufficient environmental protection?
  • What type of monitoring would be needed to confirm the degree and extent of toxicological effects?

The Panel does not believe that the knowledge gaps are so crucial that this aspect of the Project could not proceed. DFO did not argue this; in fact, it recommended that VBNC consider increasing the effluent loading in Edward's Cove by discharging treated water from the North Tailings Basin there instead of into Kangeklualuk Bay (see Recommendation 26 above). Nevertheless, the Panel concludes that further research on the ecotoxicological effects of mining effluents, and particularly nickel-copper-cobalt effluents, on marine biota would benefit all parties, including resource users, DFO, Environment Canada, VBNC and the mining industry in general. The Panel also believes that VBNC has a responsibility to participate in this research effort, because it would be using Anaktalak Bay and possibly Kangeklualuk Bay as part of its wastewater management system for over 20 years.

Recommendation 27

The Panel recommends that DFO, Environment Canada, the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology and VBNC, in consultation with LIA and the Innu Nation through monitoring partnerships, should develop a research program using the Voisey's Bay Mine and Mill Project as the central case study, to increase the level of knowledge about the effects of nickel-copper-cobalt effluents in the marine environment, particularly with respect to effluent discharge standards, mitigation measures, and monitoring methods and procedures.

The Panel recognizes that VBNC hopes and expects to produce an effluent containing significantly fewer contaminants than the levels permitted by current MMLER standards, which suggests that the benchmark for best available technology may have shifted. It would not be unreasonable to assume that, during the Project's life, this benchmark would shift again. The Panel encourages VBNC to apply its environmental management policy of continuous improvement to all operations affecting effluent quality.

The Panel does not know what standards would be in effect when the Project began operation, or the extent to which they would be tailored to the marine environment. Nor is the Panel in a position to recommend site-specific requirements. Furthermore, end-of-pipe criteria, such as the MMLER or the Newfoundland Department of Environment and Labour (NDOEL) regulations, do not directly address the issue of total loading, which is particularly relevant for contaminants that do not biodegrade.

The Panel observes that the Project would discharge effluent into pristine waters, and that every effort should be made to minimize the amount of persistent contamination introduced into the system, just as the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Objectives promote a higher standard of care in pristine airsheds. Therefore, the Panel believes that consistent efforts throughout the life of the Project to reduce pollutants at source - by using cleaner production strategies, achieving high operating standards at all treatment facilities and adopting technological upgrades as they become available - would be the best way to protect the marine environment. These efforts should be combined with an appropriate effects monitoring program linked to conservative thresholds that would trigger corrective action if required.

Recommendation 28

The Panel recommends that VBNC commit, through its environmental protection plan, to reducing total marine pollutant loadings on a continuous improvement basis, and work with Environment Canada to develop policies and procedures that would

  • improve mill processes to reduce pollutants at source;
  • ensure, through a preventive maintenance program and other approaches, that treatment facilities operate at the highest standards of effectiveness; and
  • upgrade treatment technology as needed.

VBNC should report regularly to the Environmental Advisory Board on the results of this pollution prevention program.

Recommendation 29

The Panel recommends that VBNC be required to include the following in its follow-up program:

  • a marine water and sediment quality monitoring program that includes threshold criteria related to existing water and sediment quality guidelines (threshold levels should be set at a point that gives suitable early warning);
  • mandatory mitigative action if these thresholds were exceeded; and
  • research studies designed to identify any adverse health effects in marine biota, followed by revision of the threshold criteria if necessary.

9.4 Baseline Knowledge Needed for Monitoring

VBNC carried out baseline studies in 1995-96, focusing on the five-bay complex, to collect data on physical oceanography, ice conditions in Anaktalak Bay, seawater chemistry, phytoplankton and zooplankton, coastal geomorphology, sediment quality, intertidal and subtidal conditions, fish communities, and fish and shellfish chemical profiles. VBNC also used a number of DFO studies, particularly on char.

Both DFO and LIA expressed concerns about the level of baseline knowledge of the marine environment presented in the EIS and background documents. In both cases, the parties mainly presented this concern as an issue to be resolved through the design and implementation of the monitoring program. More information is needed in order to know where to look to verify that the Project has had no harmful effects or to detect early warnings of possible problems.

DFO observed that VBNC collected sufficient data on the physical oceanography of the area but did not analyze them to provide an overview of the physical processes controlling the dynamics of the marine environment in inshore bays. Specific issues included

  • the need to understand how bottom circulation patterns will affect contaminant dispersion (Anaktalak Bay is actually a fjord with limited flushing of the deeper waters);
  • the need to consult recent literature on the inshore Labrador Current to better understand water mass exchange between the inshore and offshore, and how ice moves; and
  • a lack of current information on pack ice in the area.

Regarding the biological oceanography component of the EIS, DFO was concerned that sampling was restricted both seasonally and geographically, and that ecological analysis was needed to link the biological, chemical and physical information to identify possible changes, particularly to the lower food web. One specific concern was how changes to the ice cover in Anaktalak Bay could affect various species such as scallops, mussels, clams and sea urchins in their larval stages. Another was the lack of sampling of the spring phytoplankton bloom that represents the most significant period of primary productivity during the year.

In its submissions to the Panel, DFO characterized marine habitat in the assessment area as productive and dynamic, and recommended that VBNC develop a broad overview of sub-Arctic marine ecosystem dynamics in the Project area, including inshore bays and the coastal archipelago. DFO argued that such an overview is "fundamentally important to the assessment process" and "of particular interest to Fisheries and Oceans in the context of its `oceans' mandate."

LIA, through its Inuit experts, shared with the Panel its knowledge of the various processes and resources within Anaktalak Bay, based on long-term personal observation and many generations of travel and resource use in the area. These experts also described Anaktalak Bay as highly dynamic and talked about interactions among winds, tides, water masses, ice, fish and marine mammals; aspects of the food chain; the potential for shellfish harvesting; and marine mammal and waterfowl habitat. Like DFO, LIA stated the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the ecological processes within the marine environment, which should be developed collaboratively and integrate Aboriginal knowledge. LIA placed this issue within the context of its recommendation to the Panel that a marine management plan be developed under the mandate of the Oceans Act.

DFO challenged VBNC's estimate of the abundance of shellfish in Anaktalak Bay and its assessment of the commercial potential of the shellfish beds. VBNC had carried out some surveys in Edward's Cove and had extrapolated these results to the whole bay, based on projected densities for three types of habitat: estuarine, boulder barricade and bedrock. VBNC concluded that "the stocks of shellfish in Anaktalak Bay have no capacity to support commercial fisheries," based on the estimated limited densities and slow growth rates. DFO, in response, cited a number of viable fisheries elsewhere that exploit long-lived, slow-growing species.

LIA emphasized the importance of Anaktalak Bay for domestic shellfish harvesting, and indicated its interest in diversifying its commercial fisheries by exploring Anaktalak Bay's potential. It is concerned that the conversion of Edward's Cove into an industrial site will remove that potential. This concern is based partly on the LIA's observations of shellfish tainting in Nain harbour.

DFO characterized the marine finfish information in the EIS as "extremely cursory," and identified the following as areas where information gaps existed: seasonal variability, capelin spawning beaches, pelagic species and Project impacts on Arctic char in the marine phase of their life cycle. DFO also critiqued VBNC's stock assessments for Arctic char, concluding that, from all sources, "information on true abundance of char is uncertain."

In response, VBNC argued that

  • its baseline program contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge about the northern coast of Labrador;
  • it had focused on the five-bay area to avoid "diluting" the identification of effects;
  • the information collected was sufficient to support impact predictions and would be supplemented through the life of the Project through monitoring; and
  • it had integrated physical, chemical and biological information while identifying and assessing effects and that it had already taken many of DFO's concerns into consideration.

VBNC also made the following commitments:

  • to sample water chemistry parameters during the construction and operation phases to verify effluent dilution predictions;
  • to update knowledge of the area's physical oceanographic processes as information becomes available;
  • to update the database on ice conditions through a proposed program of joint research incorporating local participation and knowledge;
  • to use relevant stock estimate data if and when DFO collects such data in the future;
  • to include marine fish and habitat in the environmental effects monitoring program, which could include sampling of water, sediment chemistry and deposition, and benthic infauna; and
  • to review the available knowledge base while designing the environmental effects monitoring program in order to identify links and select monitoring targets and parameters.

In general, the Panel believes that the baseline information VBNC has collected is sufficient for the purposes of environmental impact assessment. VBNC's predictions focus mainly on those areas, receptors and pathways likely to show the greatest changes as a result of the Project. The Panel believes that it is reasonable to assume that any problems, including bioaccumulation of metals, will show up first and most prominently in Edward's Cove, for example, rather than "leapfrogging" Edward's Cove to appear elsewhere in Anaktalak Bay. Therefore, protecting Edward's Cove should also protect Anaktalak Bay. However, the Panel recognizes that some additional baseline information may be needed to support the monitoring program, depending on the indicators that are selected.

The Panel also appreciates DFO's concern that the Project would likely cause changes and effects in the existing marine ecosystem in many subtle and complex ways. The proposed Project would be the first large-scale industrial intrusion on the Labrador coast, about which there is certainly a wealth of Aboriginal knowledge but a paucity of scientific knowledge. The Panel agrees with LIA and DFO that ongoing work, though not necessarily more data collection, is needed to develop a more integrated description of marine ecological processes, particularly in a regional context. Such a description and understanding could help refine understanding of potential Project effects, and improve both Project and resource management decisions. VBNC has committed to working with LIA to develop a more integrated understanding of processes in Anaktalak Bay through the monitoring partnership. Recommendations in Chapter 17, Environmental Management, also address the need for a marine management planning process involving DFO.

The Panel believes that VBNC is wrong in writing off the commercial shellfish potential of Anaktalak Bay based on currently available information. However, the Panel agrees that the responsibility for carrying out detailed stock assessments for a broader area than just Edward's Cove (that is, Anaktalak Bay) most properly lies with DFO. VBNC is responsible for identifying types and densities of shellfish within the area where the Project would interact with this receptor. Possible effects on the harvesting of shellfish fall into three categories:

  • actual contamination or tainting of animals;
  • spatial conflicts in the port area; and
  • perceived effects (it may be difficult to market product from an area perceived to be an industrial site, or harvesters may avoid the Project area).

Effects on harvesting are covered in Chapter 14, Aboriginal Land Use and Historical Resources.

The Panel believes that VBNC, in surveying Edward's Cove - where there is the greatest risk of contamination, tainting or spatial conflict - has provided the needed amount of information for environmental assessment. However, the Panel also believes that VBNC should also be responsible for monitoring effects to verify the extent of these effects on shellfish around Project facilities, and that the company should compensate resource users, if necessary (see Chapter 14, Aboriginal Land Use and Historical Resources).

Recommendation 30

The Panel recommends that VBNC monitor shellfish for metals, bacterial contamination and hydrocarbon tainting to identify the extent of the area affected by the Project.