The Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) has just released reports on seagrass responses to dredging in northwest Australia.
With almost no knowledge of how primary producers in the NW of Australia will respond to the environmental changes produced by dredging, it is difficult to predict and then manage the impacts of dredging on these critical habitats with an acceptable level of certainty.
According to WAMSI, this project will improve the understanding of how seagrasses are affected by dredging activities, and will apply that understanding to better prediction of impacts and management of dredging.
The research focuses on two of the most significant stresses produced by dredging: the reduction in light availability to plants; and the smothering of seagrass and algae as suspended sediments settle.
WAMSI also added that the research will enhance the capacity of government and industry to predict the impacts on dredging on key benthic primary producer ecosystems and, in so doing, improve the certainty and timeliness of key approvals and regulatory processes. It will also improve the capacity to manage the impacts of dredging through improved design of monitoring and management frameworks.
The full reports can be found on the WAMSI DSN Primary Producer project page.