Eco group claims photos show impacts of dredging on harbour
AN ENVIRONMENTAL group is claiming that two aerial photographs show the devastating impact that dredging has had on Gladstone harbour.
But the Gladstone Ports Corporation says the two photos don't provide a realistic illustration of the impact of dredging, and are more likely to illustrate the differences in tides and turbidity of the water.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society released the two photos earlier this week, one from 2005, before the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project began, and the other in late 2011 during the middle of the dredging program.
AMCS spokesperson Felicity Wishart said the controversial 21 million cubic metre dredging project was significant to the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.
"We've been concerned that the government continues to say that dredging hasn't been a problem and that things are all good in Gladstone harbour," she said.
"We don't believe that's the case. While it's starting to improve the development isn't over with further plans to duplicate the channel in the harbour."
Ms Wishart said the coordinator-general's response to Arrow Energy's LNG project earlier this month revealed serious problems with the water quality.
"The coordinator general agreed with that assessment, saying it can't set a high standard for the fourth project because the water quality was so poor," she said.
But in a statement provided to the Observer, the GPC said the cyclic nature of the Western Basin and the naturally occuring turbidity fluctuations due to tidal movements and seasonal events had been clearly documented both prior and during the dredging project.
"GPC has implemented a comprehensive water quality monitoring system whereby samples are taken every 15 minutes and all data is available to the public on the Western Basin project website," it read.
It also referred to recent reports, such as the Curtis Coast Coastal and Marine Inventory Resource and the Independent Review of the Gladstone Harbour, both of which showed the minimal impact that dredging has had on the harbour.
The Environment Department has not yet responded to inquiries.