Intertidal ecology and potential power impacts, Bay of Fundy, Canada

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A large-scale tidal power project in the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy would cause major changes in the tidal elevations of the headpond which would have a pronounced effect on intertidal ecology. The new mean low water level would be, on average, slightly above the present mean sea level whilst the new mean high water level would drop about 0.7 m. This would result in a much compressed intertidal zone. Mud and sand flats, below the present mean sea level, would be converted to sub-tidal habitat, whilst the high saltmarsh, flooded at present only on the highest spring tides, would become colonized by terrestrial vegetation. There would be major shifts in the relative importance of primary production by saltmarshes, intertidal microalgae and phytopiankton, but overall, it is likely that production would increase. Changes in both primary food sources and habitat area would affect the abundance of intertidal invertebrate organisms and the fish and migratory shorebirds that feed upon them.

Author-supplied keywords

  • environmental impacts
  • estuary
  • rocky shores
  • tidal power

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