Bedford Institute of Oceanography receives $3.5 million in federal funding

April 1, 2015

A major ocean research facility located in the Halifax, Nova Scotia, area was recently named the recipient of a significant amount of federal funding, Global News Canada reported. The move underscored the importance of the oceaneering industry in Nova Scotia on a national scale.

The Dartmouth-based Bedford Institute of Oceanography is the largest centre for ocean research in the country. According to its website, the BIO houses four federal departments, all managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada:

  • The Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • The Department of Natural Resources
  • The Department of National Defence
  • Environment Canada

It is also home to the Canadian Coast Guard's technical services section, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Branch's Regional Aquaculture Coordination Office, all three divisions of the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Branch and more.

The institute employs more than 600 researchers, engineers, technicians, natural resource experts and environmental managers. It works to conserve and protect both Canadian oceans and the resources therein, in line with a federal government mandate.

The federal funding will take the form of more than $3 million from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and $500,000 from the Department of Natural Resources. According to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, the money is intended to be put toward "additional repairs, upgrades and other maintenance work related to [BIO] buildings and facilities," as quoted by the media outlet.

Nuts and bolts

Much of the funding will be put toward repairs and expansions.

DFO anticipates replacing windows, plugging leaks

Although the funding was only recently announced, directors working at the BIO already have ideas about how to invest the money.

For instance, Sherry Niven, acting director of sciences for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, wants to spruce up the fish laboratory.

"We need windows replaced," Niven told the news source. "They're leaking, so they're being upgraded to energy-efficient windows and it will make it far more comfortable for our scientists to work."

Additionally, a portion of the funds will go toward repairing the roofs of the department's older buildings, some of which have been experiencing leakage.

GSC plans storage facility expansion

Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources' Geological Survey of Canada division will use its slice of the funding – $400,000 – to increase the size of its storage facility. The facility contains sediment samples from the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans that are stored for three to four decades following their collection, Global News Canada reported.

"The biggest need was an expansion on our core storage facility and our sediment lab," said Stephen Locke, GSC director, as quoted by the media outlet. "We often do the geological part of oceanography here, so we take sediment samples, core samples. We have a large refrigeration unit that is being expanded as a result."

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