Marine assessment guideline for BOPEC and Nustar operations
As part of the permit, Rijkswaterstaat requested an ecological monitoring and evaluation framework guideline to accompany the permit-application for the activities of BOPEC (Bonaire) and Nustar (St. Eustatius), related to the activities of the loading and unloading of oil and oil-related-products. IMARES has been asked to develop a tailored guideline to assist in the design of a monitoring plan by BOPEC and Nustar. The current document is the requested guideline. A complete monitoring proposal by the license holder must subsequently be developed on the basis of this guideline. The generic framework developed by Becking and Slijkerman (2012) was applied and made more specific for this guideline. The basic steps undertaken were: 1. Establishing the context in which the project will take place. 2. Scoping of the project activities, their pressures and the environmental descriptors relevant to the potential impact area. 3. Assessment and evaluation of the anticipated pressures on the selected biological and environmental descriptors. The guidance thus contains an overview of relevant activities and their pressures. In addition, biological descriptors were selected based on the most important relationships to the planned activities and anticipated pressures. The scope of monitoring is based on the major linkages between activities, -pressures and -ecosystem descriptors. A distinction is made between baseline and accident monitoring. Baseline monitoring is necessary to guarantee that background levels and patterns of change over time are known. This should be done also at control sites to make sure that a natural pattern (e.g. bleaching) is not confused as an effect of pollution on the impact sites. Both control sites and impact sites to perform baseline monitoring are recommended in this report. Accident monitoring is the assessment of the environmental status following accidents. Polluted sites should be identified and monitored. In parallel, all baseline monitoring should be continued. Due to wind and currents, there is a high likelihood that oil spilled at Nustar will float to the coast of Saba. Therefor it is necessary to check the coast of Saba as well after an oil spill. The baseline monitoring should be a continuous process with and regular effort, while accident related monitoring is incidental, only but directly after a spill or accident. Each type of monitoring requires different frequencies (Chapter 6).