Dredging underway at Kalbarri, WA

The Department of Transport WA has commenced biennial maintenance dredging at the mouth of the Murchison River in Kalbarri after recent confirmation the channel width had more than halved in the past year.

Photo courtesy of MWPA

DoT A/Manager Asset Management, Sam Mettam said that hydrographic surveying had shown the channel had narrowed by about 60 meters in the past 12 months, decreasing from 100m to about 40m currently.

A $1.6 million dredging campaign during the next four months will see about 45,000 cubic meters of material removed to reinstate the original 140 meter channel width to ensure safe navigation until the next campaign, due in 2026,” Mr Mettam said.

In 2022 DoT fast tracked the dredging campaign and extracted a record 95,000 cubic meters of material after a severe winter combined with the impacts of Cyclone Seroja resulted in concerning levels of infilling, making navigation dangerous.

At DoT we are constantly working to make waterways safer and this project will deliver a wider passage for both commercial and recreational skippers through what are known to be treacherous waters in poor conditions,” Mr Mettam said.

The works will be carried out by the 18m cutter suction dredge “Mudlark I”, equipped with 400m of floating & submerged pipeline. The dredged material will be pumped approximately one kilometre north of the river mouth.