Down East LNG Wildlife Report

By Michael R. Brown 

On June 1st, Down East LNG filed a report compiling a series of studies conducted on the impact of wildlife and habitat within the area of its proposed facility in Robbinston’s Mill Cove. The Federal Environmental Resources Commission posted that report on its web site on June 2nd. The report also includes some potential effects of the pipeline to Baileyville.

The two continuing concerns are impact on eagles and American eel. Many of the streams and ponds within the Project area are potential habitat for both, which are a Maine Species of Special Concern.  Downeast LNG asserts it will work with the Maine Department of Marine Resources regarding this eels in the effort to minimize potential impact. Down East will also work with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for guidance on minimizing impacts to eagles.

Most of the rest of the results in the DELNG report asserted there would be no other effects. No lobsters were observed in a November video survey. In the eyes of Down East LNG this reinforces previous studies that lobsters migrate out of Mill Cove between late October and early November. The numbers of other commercially-important species is “very low and insufficient to support commercial harvesting.” Nothing was said about occasional individual lobstering.

No great blue heron rookeries were identified during either wetland or vernal pool surveys in 2014. The report said, “Given the very limited response to what were substantially above the predicted LNG construction and operation noise levels, construction and operation will have no adverse affect on shorebird use in Mill Cove.” Nor will the construction or operation affect any state-designated seabird or rare plant habitats. No eelgrass was seen in multiple video surveys conducted in Mill Cove.

 

While DELNG has contacted tribal leaders by mail, no replies have been posted. It is likely that these letters resulted from a prompt by Save Passamaquoddy Bay, the most frequent critic of the DELNG proposal, as it has been for previous proposals in Sipayik and Calais.