The recentlly released DFO report:
(See Full PDF) SUFFICIENCY REVIEW OF THE INFORMATION ON EFFECTS OF UNDERWATER NOISE AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SHIP STRIKES FROM MARINE SHIPPING ON MARINE MAMMALS IN THE FACILITIES APPLICATION FOR THE TRANS MOUNTAIN EXPANSION PROJECT was very critical of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project Application documents. The Conclusion of the report is concerned with Vessel strikes on Whales and the overall impact of noise from increased Project-related traffic. Included below are the conclusions of the report.
There are deficiencies in both the assessment of potential effects resulting from ships strikes and exposure to underwater noise in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project Application documents.
There is insufficient information and analysis provided with which to assess ship strike risk in the Marine RSA from either existing or Project-related traffic. Ship strike is a threat of conservation concern, particularly for baleen whales such as Fin Whales, Humpback Whales and other baleen whales (Gregr et al. 2006). If shipping intensity increases as projected in Section 4.4 in the Marine RSA and the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait as a whole, the significance of this threat to cetacean populations that occupy the region will increase.
Incidence of recovered whale carcasses is not considered to be an adequate measure of the frequency of ship strikes. No information is provided about the speed and maneuverability of Project-related ships or the distribution of whales in relation to the shipping lanes. Analyses that consider the statistical probability of ship-whale encounters and the risk of collisions are considered appropriate methodologies to assess this potential effect.
The JASCO MONM model, as it has been applied by the Proponent, is not adequate to assess the overall impact of noise from increased Project-related traffic. Although state-of-the-art acoustic modelling has been used to model the noise propagation associated with a single Project-related tanker in the Marine RSA, only four locations were chosen to represent the Marine RSA; therefore, the assessment does not adequately represent the noise exposure for the entire time a marine mammal would be in the RSA. The assessment represents only Project-related tanker traffic and not the current noise environment or the potential increase due to Project-related traffic. Finally, the method used to assess the significance of impacts from the modelled noise level contours resulting from a single Project-related tanker and tug on indicator cetacean and pinniped species is qualitative and the lack of an appropriate assessment framework reduces DFO’s ability to evaluate the assessment.
(See Full PDF) SUFFICIENCY REVIEW OF THE INFORMATION ON EFFECTS OF UNDERWATER NOISE AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SHIP STRIKES FROM MARINE SHIPPING ON MARINE MAMMALS IN THE FACILITIES APPLICATION FOR THE TRANS MOUNTAIN EXPANSION PROJECT