Estimating Entrainment Impacts of a Proposed Offshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal within a Coral Reef Ecosystem in Puerto Rico

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 8:40 AM
203 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Brian Dresser , Tetra Tech, Inc., Manchester, NH
John Schaffer , Tetra Tech, Inc., Morris Plains, NJ
Matt Lybolt , Tetra Tech, Inc., Stuart, FL
Mike Trammel , Excelerate Energy, Inc., The Woodlands, TX
Jorge Garcia , Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR
A proposed offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) GasPort in Puerto Rico will utilize enough cooling water to require compliance with 316(b) entrainment regulations. The proposed GasPort will be located 2 km offshore of reefs that host ESA-listed/proposed corals and commercially important fish and shellfish. Gobies, grunts, clupeids, and damselfishes were the most abundant taxa identified from the 49 larval fish families collected during seasonal ichthyoplankton tows. Early stage spiny lobster larvae were not abundant, but were collected during each of the tows. Resource agencies are particularly interested in the potential entrainment of ESA-listed/proposed coral larvae, which are not typically evaluated from an entrainment perspective. After we characterized the adjacent reefs, which exhibited a density of one ESA-listed/proposed colony every 20 m2, we then developed sampling protocols to allow for the live enumeration of coral larvae. We conducted diel plankton tows between 0–8 days following the August 2013 full moon to characterize the annual coral mass-spawning event, and found relatively low densities of coral larvae in those samples, which likely represent a drift assemblage. Here, we present how these data are being used to characterize the pre-construction entrainment potential for fish, shellfish, and coral larvae at the proposed GasPort.