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Eight-year scientific monitoring program shows continued ecosystem health at Roberts Bank

By BCShippingNews 26 January 2016
Independent program concludes that there are no negative impacts from Deltaport's third berth...

A science-based program to monitor and manage the ecosystem of the Roberts Bank inter-causeway area has concluded after eight years of monitoring that the ecosystem has not suffered any significant negative impacts due to the construction of a third berth at the Deltaport container terminal, which began in 2007.

The independent monitoring program, called the Adaptive Management Strategy, was developed by Port Metro Vancouver in consultation with Environment Canada. It included a scientific advisory committee comprised of three scientists appointed to provide independent scientific and technical advice and recommendations to prevent or mitigate any significant negative ecosystem trends attributable to the Deltaport Third Berth Project.

The strategy was designed to look specifically for changes to the nutrient balance in the water, and for potential erosion effects, both of which could negatively affect the ecosystem of the area located between the Roberts Bank and Highway 17 causeways in Delta.

“It is very encouraging to see the plan put in place nine years ago has been successful in protecting the ecosystem at Roberts Bank”, said Duncan Wilson, Port Metro Vancouver’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “The Deltaport Third Berth Project was designed to minimize impacts to the environment, and we invested approximately $25 million to implement more than 150 commitments to protect the environment, of which the Adaptive Management Strategy was one.”

The strategy was initiated in 2007 when construction of the Deltaport third berth commenced, and carried through until 2014. Science-based monitoring concluded there was no evidence of significant environmental impacts from the project.  One small localized area behind a tugboat basin showed changes in water and sediment quality due to poor drainage. The port authority responded to this by installing a swale in a berm to increase drainage, a move that is proving successful.

“The 2014 Annual Report is a public document that provides a summary of work in the past eight years, as well as full details of the tens of thousands of measurements made over the course of the program,” said Ron Ydenberg, member of the scientific advisory committee. “The purpose of the report is to provide full transparency, so that all interested parties - including the public - may be assured that the Adaptive Management Strategy was carefully and independently scrutinized, that the work was thorough, and that the conclusions reached are supported by solid empirical evidence.”

The final report on the strategy, as well as yearly reports since 2007, is available on Port Metro Vancouver’s website. More information can also be found at our Delta Community Office located at 5225A Ladner Trunk Road Ladner, Delta.

As a Canadian port authority, Port Metro Vancouver is mandated to facilitate Canada’s trade demand in a manner that ensures safety, the protection of the environment and consideration of local communities. Port Metro Vancouver is recognized globally as a leader in sustainability, including by the likes of Sir Richard Branson and the Carbon War Room. In 2015 the port authority announced initiatives such as shore power for container vessels and the