Australia: Improved Dredge Material Management Report Introduced
WWF stated that the ‘Fight for the Reef’ campaign has seized on a new report on the impact of dredging on the Great Barrier Reef as further evidence that the practice of dumping dredge waste should be banned.
The Improved Dredge Material Management for the Great Barrier Reef Region report is one of a number of research projects commissioned by the government to support the comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone.
This research, funded by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities and managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority made use of independent expertise to improve decision making with regards to dredge material disposal in the Great Barrier Reef Region.
GBRMPA and external expert consultants worked closely with the Queensland Ports Association to inform the research and to ensure site specific information on type of dredging, amount of dredging and sediment composition was accurately reflected in the modelling.
The report provides a comparative analysis of dredge material dispersal at existing and hypothecial alternative disposal sites near the five major ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area—Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone, Abbot Point and Hay Point—and the marina at Rosslyn Bay.
The research was the first to incorporate the combined influence of waves, tides, local winds and large-scale currents when modelling the movement of dredge material over 12 months at multiple locations.
Scientists and stakeholders agreed that the model was robust, but recognised there were some limitations and uncertainties associated with some of the model inputs.
The information generated by this study is high level and is not intended to replace the detail required as part of an environmental impact assessment process for any future dredge material placement operations.
Press Release, August 13, 2013