Bay of Fundy Underwater Noise Study (2015)


ECW has partnered with the University of New Brunswick to quantify the noise levels in the marine environment of the Outer Bay of Fundy. Under the guidance of accomplished marine mammal researcher Dr. Jack Terhune, ECW staff will use digital hydrophones to measure the amplitude and wavelength of noise in the marine environment between Saint John Harbour and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Noise pollution is a contaminant in marine ecosystems. It degrades habitat by masking the acoustic communications of many fish and marine mammals. A measure of noise pollution in the Outer Bay of Fundy is required to effectively manage the stresses on marine wildlife resulting from the increase in shipping traffic that will result from proposed new developments.

To date there has not been a study of the noise levels in this habitat. We are eager to conduct this landmark research in one of the planet’s most exceptional marine environments. It is our hope that our study will lead to the development of management strategies and industrial best practices. This work could not have been possible without the support of Environment Canada’s Gulf of Maine Initiative and New Brunswick’s Environmental Trust Fund.

Bay of Fundy Estuarine Monitoring (2014-2015)

Estuary Monitoring 3

Supported by Environment Canada’s Gulf of Maine Initiative, Eastern Charlotte Waterways teamed with the Gulf of Maine Council to monitor the six largest estuaries in the Bay of Fundy for contaminants. ECW staff travelled to sampling sites used in the ‘Gulfwatch’ program which monitors blue mussel tissue for contaminants. At each site staff collected a sediment sample that was then sent to RPC laboratories in Fredericton for an extensive suite of analysis including trace metals, mercury, hydrocarbons, PCBs, and pesticides.

Work took place in Passamaquoddy, Musquash, Saint John, Chignecto, Minas, and the Annapolis estuaries. ECW was proud to also partner with the Clean Annapolis River Project in the completion of this work. The project will continue in 2015-2016 with the completion of eutrophication sampling in each of the estuaries.

Musquash Estuary Marine Protected Area (2014-2019)

Musquash 1

In 2014 Eastern Charlotte Waterways proudly signed a five year agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to monitor water quality in the Musquash Estuary Marine Protected Area.

On five occasions throughout the year, ECW staff travel to Musquash to collect samples for fecal coliform analysis, and on one occasion in the summer, samples are collected for eutrophication analysis. ECW is proud to be a partner in the conservation of one of Canada’s eight marine protected areas.

Monitoring Eutrophication in Southwest New Brunswick Estuaries (2013)


Eastern Charlotte Waterways teamed with the Gulf of Maine Council to monitor the three largest estuaries in southwestern New Brunswick for eutrophication. Eutrophication is an increase in the concentration of nutrients (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus) in an ecosystem to the extent that an excessive increase in primary productivity occurs. It is most often the result of anthropogenic pollution, particularly the release of sewage effluent and agricultural run-off carrying fertilizers into natural waters. Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favours simple algae and plankton over other more complicated plants, and causes a severe reduction in water quality. It can lead to dense blooms of phytoplankton, including “red tides” or harmful algal blooms, and changes in seagrass beds and other submerged aquatic vegetation. Eutrophication greatly impacts the resiliency of coastal ecosystems decreased water clarity and depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water. Those effects can result in a marked decrease in the resource value of coastal and marine habitats such that recreation, fishing, hunting, and aesthetic enjoyment are hindered.

ECW traveled to the Passamaquoddy, the Musquash, and the Saint John estuary. In each estuary, 20 sampling sites were chosen at random, and at each site, water clarity, salinity, and temperature were measured. A water sample was collected and shipped to the New Brunswick Analytical laboratory, where it was analysed for Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorous, and chlorophyll a. This information has been forwarded to the Gulf of Maine Council’s Ecosystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP). ESIP produces fact sheets on the Gulf of Maine in seven indicator areas. This project is the first data collected in the Bay of Fundy for the eutrophication fact sheet. It will be distributed to representatives from the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, as well as federal agencies from both the governments of Canada and the United States. The data will inform these decision makers, increasing their capacity to craft and evaluate the policies that govern the Gulf of Maine, including the Bay of Fundy, and the abundant natural resources found within.

Identifying Point-Source Contamination in Southwest New Brunswick Waters (2012-2014)

Environment Canada’s Atlantic Ecosystems Initiative is supporting ECW as they research sources of contaminants in Charlotte County’s coastal areas. This effort to improve the health of shellfish habitat consists of testing water quality after heavy rain events, conducting water quality monitoring in upstream locations, and surveying the shorelines for sources of contamination.

Clam Relaying (2011-2013)

This is a research and development pilot project designed to develop a process of natural decontamination for clams found in closed harvest areas. The technology would accomplish this without the use of an expensive land-based depuration facility.

With the support of New Brunswick’s Total Development Fund, ECW deploys contaminated clams in suspended systems of containers in areas of high water quality. Their contamination levels are monitored over a period of 30 days to determine if the process can produce a marketable clam product.

Read the report