Proposed Dredge Material Management Site, Sandy Cove East, Digby County, NS

The Small Craft Harbours Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada proposes to undertake the development of a dredge material management site intended to be used for long-term storage of sediment dredged from the Centreville Small Craft Harbour. Options for reuse of this dredge material will be explored such that a portion of the material may be stored on site temporarily, however, it is anticipated that the majority of the material will be managed on site over the long-term.

Site works will involve the construction of an access road within the proposed property that will facilitate the transportation of dredge material from the harbour to the selected location within the proposed property that will be designed to store the material. Vegetation clearing and site grubbing and grading will take place within the central portion of the property to prepare an area to receive the dredged material. A treed buffer will be retained around the central containment area that will minimize the view from adjacent properties as well as from Old Post Road.

Latest update

Notice of Determination

December 5, 2023 – DFO-SCH has issued their Notice of Determination after evaluation of the dredge material management site at a property in Sandy Cove, Digby County, and has determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and can therefore proceed.


This determination was based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • Impacts on rights of Indigenous peoples;
  • Community and Indigenous knowledge;
  • Comments received from the public; and
  • Technically and economically feasible mitigation measures.


Mitigation measures taken into account for this determination are:

  • Prior to starting on-site work activities (daily), a check for wildlife will be done by conducting a thorough visual inspection of the work area and immediate surroundings.
  • To reduce potential for direct bat mortality, tree/vegetation clearing during the maternity/summer roosting period (May to August) and fall mating season (September to October) will be avoided. Field/cleared areas that are planned to be used for any component of the DMMS will be inspected during the nesting season to ensure that ground-nesting birds are not present.
  • Bank swallows generally dig their burrows in near-vertical banks (slopes of at least 70 degrees) that are more than 2 m high. Berms of the containment cells will be constructed and mounds of dredged material will be shaped to discourage bank swallows from establishing nests in the berms and mounds (i.e., with a slope of less than 70 degrees).
  • A site management and monitoring plan will be developed and implemented to monitor for potential offsite impacts to surface water and groundwater quality resulting from site activities. Should monitoring indicate potential issues, an adaptive management approach (e.g., removal of material, remediation of site, etc.) will be followed, and additional mitigation measures will be implemented. Measures outlined in the site management and monitoring plan will be established to minimize the off-site impacts of the proposed DMMS during the operational phase. This will include design details to minimize the impacts to soil, surface water, and groundwater quality over the lifetime of the site.
  • All machinery must be well muffled and maintained in proper working order and must be regularly checked for leakage of lubricants or fuel.
  • Ensure that machinery arrives on-site in a clean condition and is maintained free of fluid leaks, invasive species, and noxious weeds.
  • Develop a response plan that is to be implemented immediately in the event of a spill of a deleterious substance and keep an emergency spill kit on-site.
  • Provide awareness training to site personnel on the sensitivity of Indigenous Peoples to potential impacts on archaeological/heritage resources, potential for presence of unknown buried heritage features, and examples of possible artifacts and structures. All construction personnel will be responsible for reporting any unusual materials unearthed during construction activities to the Construction Supervisor.
  • If an archaeological and/or historically significant item is discovered during the work activities, work in the area will be stopped immediately and the PSPC Project Manager will be contacted as well as the provincial Archaeological Services unit: Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Special Places Program - telephone: (902) 424-6475. Work will only resume at the direction of the provincial Archaeologist. If discovered features are potentially related to Indigenous Communities, the KMKNO and Office of L’nu Affairs will be informed.
  • Avoid ground disturbance on eastern property (PID#30163331). Should ground disturbance be required, a qualified archaeologist will be engaged to identify additional mitigation measures (e.g., monitoring) to avoid potential impacts on archaeological resources.
  • Installation of a lockable gate at the access road off Old Post Road.
  • Site construction and operations (e.g., disposal of sediment, site maintenance, etc.) will be conducted outside of tourist season as much as reasonably possible.
  • “No Trespassing”, “No Dumping”, and “No Hunting” signs will be installed at the gate and along the site boundary. All signage will adhere to Government of Canada standards and requirements.
  • The dredged sediment will be allowed to vegetate naturally or hydroseeded, depending on the success of natural revegetation. Revegetation of exposed soil/sediment will reduce negative visual impacts, dust generation, and erosion. If hydroseeding is applied, a mixture of native seed types will be used.
  • Regular inspections will be completed to ensure the access gate(s), fencing, and signs are in good condition and that unauthorized disposal of garbage, construction waste, or other debris is not occurring at the site.
  • When material is being transported to the site from the SCH during dredging activities, signage will be placed at appropriate locations on Highway 217, Sandy Cove Road, and Old Post Road to warn motorists of trucks entering the highway and slow-moving vehicles.
  • All project drivers will obey recommended speed limits and reduce speed when road conditions are sub-optimal (e.g., slippery, low light, congested traffic, pedestrians present).
  • Excessive wear or rutting of Old Post Road by project vehicles will be repaired as soon as possible following heavy usage.
  • An erosion and sediment control plan will be developed for the site by the contractor for use during clearing, construction and operation activities that minimizes risk of sedimentation to the surrounding environment.
  • Weather conditions are to be assessed on a daily basis to determine the risk of extreme weather in the project areas. Avoid work during periods which Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued rainfall, wind or wave warning for the work area.
  • The existing wooded areas along portions of the site boundaries will be maintained. The wooded and vegetated areas in PID 30163331 will provide a long-term natural filter to control runoff during placement of dredged sediment as well as during rain events and spring freshets.
  • The containment cell will be lined with an impermeable layer that will prevent potentially contaminated leachate from the dredged sediment from migrating to groundwater over time. A drainage blanket (i.e. permeable layer of rock/gravel) will be installed at the base of the berm along the northeast corner of the lined cell to allow water to drain from the cell into the ditching system along the access road. A culvert will be installed under the access road along the east side of the lined section of the cell to allow water to flow towards St. Mary’s Bay into vegetated areas downgradient and away from potential ground water users located upgradient. Perimeter ditches and silt fencing with check dams will also be constructed to control surface water flow on the site. Drainage from the ditches will flow to a sediment trap consisting of standard hay bales embedded into the ground before reaching the Ocean. Water from the containment area will be monitored as part of the long term monitoring of the site to ensure site runoff reaching St Mary’s Bay meets applicable guidelines.
  • Avoid placing dredge material within 30 m of a watercourse or wetland including St. Mary’s Bay. A minimum 30 m buffer will be implemented around the onsite wetlands.
  • Minimize the project footprint to the extent possible and prevent vehicle movement outside the marked construction area.
  • Stockpile topsoil separately for reuse during site restoration. Do not mix topsoil with subsoil.
  • Eliminate free board spillage when excavating, loading, and hauling excavated material. Avoid potential release of contents and of any foreign matter onto highways, roads, and access routes used for the work. Immediately clean any ground spills and soils to extent directed by authority having jurisdiction.
  • Trucks transporting excavated material will have watertight boxes.
  • Excessive dust will be managed using application of water. Monitoring of dust levels will be conducted by the onsite construction manager, with special attention to dry days with high winds when significant earthworks are in progress. Temporary earth stockpiles may be covered if they are a significant source of dust. Waste oil must not to be used for dust control under any circumstances.
  • Reduce vehicle speeds onsite and along the unpaved Old Post Road to minimize dust generation.
  • Construction and operation activities must be carried out during hours agreed upon with the project manager and times acceptable to local authorities to mitigate disturbance to residents.
    • Based on Nova Scotia Environment and Labour (2005) guidelines, operations at the site should be completed between 7 am and 7 pm.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
8 Impact Assessment Act - Significance of Environmental Effects Determination (SEED) Form - Dredge Material Management Site, Sandy Cove, Digby County, Nova Scotia PDF (4 MB) December 20, 2023
7 Summary of Public Comments Received PDF (189 KB) December 6, 2023
6 Notice of Determination - December 5, 2023
5 End of Public Comment Period - April 4, 2022
4 Proposed Haul Route from Little River SCH to DMMS PDF (206 KB) February 16, 2022
3 Proposed Haul Route from Centreville SCH to DMMS PDF (241 KB) February 16, 2022
2 Sandy Cove DMMS Preliminary Site Plan PDF (161 KB) February 16, 2022
1 Additional Project Information: Proposed Dredge Material Management Site at Sandy Cove East, Digby County, Nova Scotia PDF (315 KB) February 16, 2022


Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours, Maritimes and Gulf Regions
Chyann Kirby, Environmental Advisor
Gulf Fisheries Centre, 343 University Avenue
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9B6
Telephone: 506-866-5164

  • Location

    • The proposed site is located on a parcel of federal land at the end of Old Post Road in Sandy Cove, Digby County, NS (PID #30163331). (Nova Scotia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Ports and Harbours
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours (DFO-SCH)
  • Authorities

    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
Date modified: