Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) has just started its baseline water quality monitoring program for its proposed Channel Deepening Project, the largest environmental monitoring program ever undertaken for a dredging project in New Zealand.
LPC is planning to dredge the shipping channel in Lyttelton Harbor/Te Whakaraupō to deepen it in preparation for the visits of larger container ships.
Before any dredging can commence LPC must gain resource consent under the Resource Management Act to carry out the dredging and disposal. LPC plans to lodge its application later this month (September) and will request the consent is publicly notified.
The company will install 14 real-time water monitoring buoys throughout Lyttelton Harbor, Port Levy and offshore marine areas to ensure it has continuous live information on water quality. These instruments will collect information over a baseline period, including at least one year prior to dredging, during the proposed dredging, and for a period after completion of dredging.
Information from the sites will enable the proposed dredging operations to be constantly managed and adapted to ensure environmental effects are minimized and fall within anticipated levels.
LPC will invest more than $3 million on its environmental monitoring program, including the installation of the monitoring buoys. Leading marine, estuarine and freshwater consulting company Vision Environment, based in Australia, has been contracted by LPC to implement and manage the water monitoring system.
Parameters such as water turbidity (water clarity), pH, temperature and nutrient levels will be constantly measured during the baseline period.
It is expected that installation of the 14 buoys will continue for the next seven days.