Cégep de Sept-Îles, the City of Sept-Îles, Corporation de protection de l’environnement de Sept-Îles, Développement économique Sept-Îles and Port of Sept-Îles announced the creation of an environmental observatory for the Bay of Sept-Îles that will be headed by Institut nordique de recherche en environnement et en santé au travail (INREST).

In addition to providing an environmental overview, this project seeks to:

• Update and consolidate data and metrics on the bay’s environment;

• Produce an annual monitoring report drawing on data processed by INREST;

• Predict the bay’s capacity to accommodate acceptable projects that are safe for people and the environment;

• Help existing businesses improve their environmental performance, as warranted; and

• Measure the results of conservation and environmental improvement efforts in the Bay of Sept-Îles.

“To our knowledge, this integrated and ongoing research approach for an ecosystem of this kind is a first in Quebec, and possibly in Canada as a whole. It helps position us as a pioneer in the environment and sustainable development matters,” asserted Donald Bherer, Executive Director of Cégep de Sept-Îles.

This important project will enhance understanding of current and future environmental impacts thanks to the acquisition of credible and updated baseline data. In addition, it will support stakeholders in their decision-making and environmental management while responding to public expectations and concerns.

“The new observatory will help protect our valuable marine ecosystems and ensure responsible planning based on sustainable development values. This innovative initiative reflects the environmental leadership of the Port and its partners,” said Pierre D. Gagnon, President and CEO of Port of Sept-Îles.

It will cost close to $384,250 to get the first phase off the ground. Développement économique Sept-Îles will contribute $50,000, Port of Sept-Îles $209,600 and Corporation de protection de l’environnement $124,650.

Work will begin soon, and the final report for the first phase is slated for fall 2014. Phase 2 of the project, planned for next year, is expected to include research on the benthic community, eelgrass, fish, phytoplankton, macroalgae, and physical and climate data, among other aspects.