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TitleResearching oil spills in Douglas Channel
AuthorBringué, MORCID logo
Source42nd AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, abstracts/42e Colloque technique de l'AMOP - Contamination de l'environnement et intervention, résumés; 2019 p. 1
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190266
Meeting42nd AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response/ 42e Colloque technique de l'AMOP - Contamination de l'environnement et intervention; Halifax, NS; CA; June 4-6, 2019
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Western offshore region
NTS103H/15; 103I/02
AreaDouglas Channel; Kitimat
Lat/Long WENS-129.0000 -128.5000 54.4167 53.7500
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geochemistry; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Transport; oil spills; petroleum industry; hydrocarbons; gas; bitumen; biological communities; ecology; marine sediments; paleoenvironment; marine sediment cores; organic geochemistry; Microbes; Microplankton; Environmental hazards; Microbiology
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience Program Management
Released2019 06 01
AbstractDramatically increased tanker traffic through Douglas Channel, transporting Liquefied Natural Gas and possibly diluted bitumen products from the port of Kitimat to market, greatly enhances the risk of oil spills affecting Canada's pristine Pacific coast. Environmental concerns prompted the current Tier restrictions that limit the maritime transport of Canadian resources. In addition, existing and planned infrastructures (e.g., LNG Canada) will operate over several decades; however, the effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia (increasingly concerning in BC's waters) on natural oil degradation rates have never been considered.
The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), in collaboration with many partners including DFO, NRC and the U. of Victoria, is leading a 5-year project set to begin in April 2019, to study oil spills in the Kitimat area. The project aims to establish a baseline of current and past variability in physico-chemical properties and microbial/microplanktonic populations in Douglas Channel, and to evaluate the ability of the system to self-mitigate oil spills under a range of reconstructed and forecast conditions. The first phase will focus on a sediment trap time series from the main channel, to calibrate various indicators. Phase 2 consists in paleo-reconstructions of past natural conditions, where impacts of historical spills (e.g., following the sinking of MV Queen of the North) on the system will be quantified using piston and box cores. Phase 3 consists in 'microcosm' experiments, testing oil degradation rates under past and forecast conditions.
The purpose of this presentation is to present GSC's plan to research oil spills in Douglas Channel to the scientific community and to gather feedback from experts in several fields, including organic geochemistry and microbial ecology.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The Geological Survey of Canada has undertaken a 5-year research project on oil spill mitigation in the Kitimat area (Douglas Channel, North coast of BC) and is seeking feedback from experts in the field. The project focusses on establishing a good understanding of natural variability in the system, measureable impacts of historical human activities, and testing oil-degradation rates under conditions that are expected over the future decades.

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