The Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) recently released a report on one of the largest single-issue environmental research programs in Australia that gained unprecedented access to industry dredging data.
The findings from the five-year WAMSI Dredging Science Node (DSN), are contributing to increased confidence, timeliness and efficiency of the environmental approval and regulatory processes associated with dredging projects, which is ultimately expected to reduce the cost to government and industry.
According to WA Environmental Protection Authority Chairman Dr Tom Hatton, it’s estimated that monitoring and management costs can exceed $100 million on a major dredging program in addition to the predictive uncertainty of risks to the environment itself.
“This program has delivered on its promise in full and in a form that has increased the confidence, timeliness and efficiency of the environmental approval and regulatory processes associated with dredging projects,” Dr Hatton said.
Woodside Energy Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Luke Smith said that the $19 million program – $9.5 million of which came from industry offsets – has delivered a valuable set of information on environmental dredging thresholds.
The Node’s 114 scientists from 26 research organisations gained unprecedented access to environmental monitoring data on four large-scale capital dredging projects in the Pilbara region including the Pluto LNG project at Burrup Peninsula (Woodside), Cape Lambert A and B projects (Rio Tinto), the Gorgon project at Barrow Island (Chevron), and the Wheatstone project at Onslow (Chevron).