Carrie Mishima, a communications advisor for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sent this statement in response to questions from Northwest Coast Energy News:
· The proposal by the Kitimat LNG project uses a relatively new technique that is expected to improve aquatic habitat in Clio Bay. The bay has been used as a log handling site for decades, resulting in areas of degraded habitat from woody debris on the seafloor. The project will cap impacted areas with inert material to restore the seafloor.
· Capping at smaller-scale sites in Canada has shown that the technique has successfully restored low-value aquatic habitat.
· The project will implement standard and project-specific measures to protect fish and aquatic habitat and will conduct a five-year monitoring program to determine how well the habitat is recovering.
· Data from the monitoring program will be used to guide future habitat reclamation at impacted habitat sites. Reference sites are being established as benchmarks against which the capped sites can be measured.
· Site-specific standards for dissolved oxygen levels will be developed for the enhanced site by sampling a control site having similar habitat parameters.
· Detailed mapping has been done to identify the best areas for the soil placement and to protect sensitive habitat such as intertidal areas, rocky substrates and eelgrass beds.
· Other required mitigation measures will include analyzing the cap material to confirm it is free of contaminants and placing this material during appropriate tidal conditions to ensure accurate placement of the cap in accordance with design plans.