News

Ignorance over dredging no longer an excuse

Aerial view of Curtis Island, LNG sites. Dredging and Fishermans landing in the background.
Aerial view of Curtis Island, LNG sites. Dredging and Fishermans landing in the background. Brenda Strong

AN ENVIRONMENTAL activist says a new report that shows turbidity levels from dredging operations travelled twice as far as predicted proves further dredging impacts cannot be blamed on ignorance.

Plumes of sediment materialising from dredging operations in Gladstone harbour were found to have travelled almost twice the distance as predicted, according to satellite imagery put together by two James Cook University scientists.

The Western Basin Dredging Project, undertaken by Gladstone Ports Corporation from 2011-13, has faced international scrutiny for flaws exposed in the removal of 22 million cubic metres of sediment.

While the GPC would not comment on the report, it assured the community all issues relating to dredging within the Western Basin at the Port of Gladstone had been resolved and they did not present an ongoing threat to the environment.

Occurrence maps corresponding to the number of times (in percentage) any given pixel of the GBR was covered by values higher than 5 mg.l-1 during the spring of 2011. Photo Contributed
Occurrence maps corresponding to the number of times (in percentage) any given pixel of the GBR was covered by values higher than 5 mg.l-1 during the spring of 2011. Photo Contributed Contributed

Dr Caroline Petus and Dr Michelle Devlin used satellite technology to examine sediment dispersion, producing a report that found during the spring of 2011, when fish health issues were reported, the threshold for turbidity in the ports waters exceeded all other respective years and in comparison to historical mean figures.

Famously, such problems in turbidity were linked by the GPC to natural flooding events.

However, the report proceeds to dispel notions that sediment plumage was caused by tidal events, claiming values recorded were vastly over average patterns, even during flooding.

Additionally, the report utilised Remote sensing imagery (MODIS) in order to differentiate the impacts of dredging activities from sediment, which could be attributed to natural causes like river discharge and tide influences.

As a result of the comprehensive research encapsulated in the report, proof that turbidity levels had reached up to 35km from the initial dredging operations are raising concerns for environmentalists.

Jane Bialst, an environmental activist, said the proof was in the paperwork.

"It may be a little controversial to say, but I for one am thankful for the disaster that has unfolded in Gladstone," she said.

The dredging company responsible for the Western Basin project scrambled to repair damaged weir boxes, which leaked sediment into Gladstone Harbour.
The dredging company responsible for the Western Basin project scrambled to repair damaged weir boxes, which leaked sediment into Gladstone Harbour. Contributed

"The enormous disruption to the Gladstone marine environment has meant that we, as environmentalists, were not wrong. We weren't crazy and we weren't trying to push our agenda."

If the government proceeds with further dredging operations, they can no longer claim ignorance.

She said the proposal to do the same dredging operations in Abbot Point and Hay Point, within 50km of the Great Barrier Reef would never be a good idea.

"If the government proceeds with further dredging operations, they can no longer claim ignorance," she said.

Gladstone Ports Corporation issued the following statement to The Observer in regards to the report.

"Gladstone Ports Corporation has not reviewed the report presented by Petus and Devlin and therefore cannot make comment as to its validity," the statement read.

"GPC intends to, and will, incorporate the lessons learned from the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone into its future practices, and is committed to working alongside the federal and state governments to implement its recommendations."

PETUS/DEVLIN REPORT

  • During the spring of 2011 the turbidity levels in Gladstone harbour exceed all previously recorded data.
  • In the same season, sediment was observed as far as 35km from the main dredging site.
  • Graphics (pictured) show Port Curtis was experiencing greatly elevated levels of sediment 80% of the time during the spring of 2011.
  • The sediment plumes affected marine environments as far away as Rodd's Peninsula during the same period.
Predicted Dredge Plume Source: Western Basin Dredging EIS Appendix K Numerical Modelling Studies' p.4-16.
Predicted Dredge Plume Source: Western Basin Dredging EIS Appendix K Numerical Modelling Studies' p.4-16. Contributed

Topics:  dredging environment gladstone harbour gladstone ports corporation sediment



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Gas supply fears for Curtis Island LNG plants, new report finds

Santos' GLNG project at Curtis Island.

See what the outlook is for 2017 oil and gas in Australia.

CFMEU official under fire for corporate spending

CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth at a rally.

Claims local official "racked up thousands" on corporate credit card

Local Partners

Why council workers will be peeking in Gladstone region yards

From January 30, council officers will spend six months visiting houses throughout the region to ensure all dogs are registered, desexed and microchipped.


New Year New Yard

Win $1000 Bunnings Voucher
Learn More

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Noll meltdown won't affect Gympie Oz Day concert

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

Shannon Noll is still expected to perform in Gympie next Thursday

11 huge events coming to Gladstone in the next 6 months

Events coming up in Gladstone in 2017.

Your guide to exciting events coming to the Gladstone region

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Meet the new Marco on MasterChef Australia: Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be a guest chef for a week on the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia.

AFTER Marco’s defection to Seven, MasterChef signs a true food hero.

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gladstone market's confidence coming back for 2017

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 16.7% to $275,000 in the September quarter.

Region's median house price drops 16.7% to $275,000

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!