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National Assessment of Pulp and Paper Environmental Effects Monitoring Data: Findings from Cycles 1 through 3

5.1 Data Processing and Study Designs

In Cycle 3, data for 62 fish surveys were submitted electronically. A total of 54 of these surveys contained adult fish data that had sufficient replication to conduct statistical analysis. A small number of alternative studies (e.g., caged bivalves, mesocosms) were also conducted (Table 2), which, due to their unique nature, are not included in the following summary of results. Prior to analysis, the electronically submitted fish data were screened for errors and incomplete data. In both Cycles 2 and 3, the majority of mills encountered one or more problems with portions of the fish field survey, and these are summarized in Table 3. The types and numbers of problems reported were similar between these two cycles.

Table 3: Number of mills that encountered problems with fish field surveys in Cycles 2 and 3
ProblemsCycle 2Cycle 3
Too few fish (<12 fish at exposure and/or reference sites)2824
Exposure site (i.e., fish not caught)17
Reference site (i.e., fish not caught)54
Only one sentinel species3327
Incomplete/poor reporting / <12 fish after removal of outliers and/or immatures1814
Fish immature1715
Aging problems / not aged66

Overall, the majority of the submitted data were of good quality for both cycles, and it was possible to correct a number of the data submission problems manually. After accounting for problems with electronically submitted data, only six submitted fish studies in Cycle 2 and five submitted fish studies in Cycle 3 were omitted entirely due to the kinds of problems summarized in Table 3 (i.e., no valid fish comparisons available for the study). Note that a “comparison,” as used for the fish survey here and later in this report, refers to an exposure versus reference comparison for one fish species and gender. Thus, a mill that conducts a fish survey on two genders for two species would have data for four comparisons for each endpoint, assuming that all comparisons provided sufficient data.

Table 4 lists the fish species collected at all mills over three cycles. The two most commonly utilized species collected in Cycles 1 and 2 were the white and longnose suckers. The white sucker was also used frequently during Cycle 3. While this comparatively large species was the mostly commonly used, the proportion of small-bodied fish species increased substantially in Cycle 2, with this higher proportion carrying over to Cycle 3 (Table 4; Lowell et al. 2003). Increased use of small-bodied species has been encouraged due to concerns regarding large-bodied fish mobility and subsequent questions about movement of sampled fish in and out of exposure areas. It should be noted, however, that recent research has shown that white sucker mobility is often minimal, except during spawning periods (Doherty et al. 2004).

Table 4: Distribution list of freshwater and marine/estuarine species used over three cyclesa
SpeciesScientific NameCycle 1Cycle 2Cycle 3
Freshwater Species
Large-bodied fishb
White suckerCatostomus commersoni463225
Longnose suckerCatostomus catostomus242011
WalleyeStizostedion vitreum1014
Yellow perchPerca flavescens796
Shorthead redhorseMoxostoma macrolepidotum812
Mountain whitefishProsopium williamsoni511
Brown bullheadAmeiurus nebulosus434
Largscale suckerCatostomus macrocheilus431
Prickly sculpinCottus asper2 2
Silver redhorseMoxostoma anisurum432
Common carpCyprinus carpio211
PeamouthMylocheilus caurinus2  
Rock bassAmbloplites rupestris227
BurbotLota lota11 
Channel catfishIctalurus punctatus11 
GoldeyeHiodon alosoides1 1
Northern pikeEsox lucius1  
Smallmouth bassMicropterus dolomieu11 
Lake whitefishCoregonus clupeaformis1  
FallfishSemotilus corporalis 22
Bridgelip suckerCatostomus columbianus  3
Total large-bodied fish1268172
Small-bodied fishb
Spottail shinerNotropis hudsonius422
PumpkinseedLepomis gibbosus111
Lake chubCouesius plumbeus21 
Fathead minnowPimephales promelas1  
Threespine sticklebackGasterosteus aculeatus1  
Johnny darterEtheostoma nigrum 66
Longnose daceRhinichthys cataractae 55
Trout-perchPercopsis omiscomaycus 41
Iowa darterEtheostoma exile 2 
LogperchPercina caprodes 1 
Bluntnose minnowPimephales notatus 1 
Blacknose daceRhinichthys atratulus 12
Common shinerLuxilis cornutus 1 
Redside shinerRichardsonius balteatus 1 
Mimic shinerNotropis volucellus 11
Mottled sculpinCottus bairdi 12
Slimy sculpinCottus cognatus 1 
Spoonhead sculpinCottus ricei 11
Torrent sculpinCottus rhotheus  1
Pearl daceMargariscus margarita  1
Golden shinerNotemigonuss crysoleucas  1
Emerald shinerNotropis atheirnoides  1
Total small-bodied fish93025
Marine/estuarine species
Large-bodied fishb
Winter flounderPleuronectes americanus721
English solePleuronectes vetulus5  
Atlantic tomcodMicrogadus tomcod5  
Starry flounderPlatichthys stellatus2  
Longhorn sculpinMyoxocephalus octodecemspinosus221
Slender soleEopsetta exilis1  
CunnerTautogolabrus adspersus1 1
Widow rockfishSebastes entomelas1  
Quillback rockfishSebastes maliger1  
Rock solePleuronectes bilineatus1  
Shorthorn sculpinMyoxocephalus scorpius 22
Total large-bodied fish2665
Small-bodied fishb
Atlantic silversideMenidia menidia1  
Threespine sticklebackGasterosteus aculeatus233
MummichogFundulus heteroclitus134
Rock gunnelPholis gunnellus  1
Total small-bodied fish468
Crabs and molluscs
Dungeness crabCancer magister6  
Rock crabCancer irroratus3  
OysterCrassostrea gigas221
Blue musselMytilus edulis232
Green crabCarcinus maenus1  
MacomaMacoma balthica 11
Waved whelkBuccinum undatum 12
Total crabs and mulluscs1476

a the data in this table include information from both successful and unsuccessful studies (modified from Environment Canada 1997; Courtenay et al. 2002 ; Munkittrick et al. 2002 ; Lowell et al. 2003).
b Small-bodied fish are defined here as a fish species that has a median size (as sampled during the EEM study) of 150 mm or less (see also Environment Canada 2004a).