Archived - ECASE (Eastern Canadian Arctic Seismic Experiment)

Baffin Bay; Jones Sound; Lancaster Sound (NU)

Reasons for a Federal Assessment
Project Description
Final Decision

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Reference Numbers

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry: 10-01-50061
Natural Resources Canada: NT‑066

Environmental Assessment Type


Other Assessment Process

Nunavut Land Claim Agreement Regime

Responsible or Regulated Authorities

Natural Resources Canada

Reasons for a Federal Assessment

On January 8, 2010, it was determined that an environmental assessment was required in relation to the project because Natural Resources Canada was the proponent for the project.

Project Description (as posted in the Notice of Commencement)

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will conduct a screening for the project: ECASE (Eastern Canadian Arctic Seismic Experiment) This project will be a joint marine seismic program with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources of the Federal Republic of Germany (BGR) to study the structure, geology and geodynamic evolution of the Northern Baffin Bay Region.

This region offers an excellent opportunity to collect data essential for a better understanding of the crustal structure of the eastern Canadian Arctic margin. The study , as proposed, will provide new constraints on plate motions between Canada and Greenland and improve the understanding of the development and evolution of the thick sedimentary basins and their hydrocarbon potential.

The marine survey will be conducted between July 31st and October 15th 2010 in the study area within the territorial waters of Canada including waters both inside and outside of the Nunavut Settlement Area (NSA) and Greenland. The operations for this project will take place aboard the German research vessel RV Polarstern. The project will include a maximum of 5 deep crustal seismic profiles (shot lines), of which 2 will be located in the NSA in Jones and Lancaster Sound, and the other 3 proposed lines will take place in the Canadian waters of Baffin Bay.

This is an amendment to clarify the scope of the project as a result of the January 21, 2010 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in MiningWatch Canada v. Canada (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans et al.) For the purposes of this multijurisdictional Environmental Assessment, each jurisdiction will maintain authority and responsibility with respect to its own environmental assessment requirements, but agree to use the information generated through the cooperative/multijurisdictional environmental assessment as the basis for their respective decisions in relation to the project under the NIRB and CEAA processes.

For the Environmental Assessment under the CEA Act, the Responsible Authority (NRCan) will use the information gathered though the Nunavut Impact Review Board process to assess the project activities which fall within the Nunavut Settlement Area to inform its screening decision under CEAA.

The seismic energy source will consist of a tuned air-powered source array with a sound production level of about 246rms re 1 µPa at 1 m vertically beneath the source array. The source array will be fired at regular 1 minute shot-point intervals along each survey line. Active seismic acquisition will take approximately 600 hours over the duration of the cruise. In addition, some reflection data collection will be undertaken concurrently. Magnetic, gravimetric, bathymetric and sub-bottom profiling systems will be operated in parallel an all profiles and transit tracks.

Final Decision

A decision was taken on July 25, 2010 and was that the authority may exercise any power or perform any duty or function with respect to the project because, after taking into consideration the screening report and taking into account the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, the authority is of the opinion that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.