NESP TWQ Round 2 - Project 2.1.9 - Risk assessing dredging activities

The project will use novel analytical techniques, instruments and approaches to accurately quantify key proximal stressors associated with dredging and dredge material placement – such as sedimentation, changes in light quantity and quality (spectral changes), and suspended sediment concentrations. The project will examine how these parameters vary with increasing distance from dredging and how they compare to natural conditions associated with storms and high wind events (see image below). The team will then test the response of key habitat forming species that may occur near dredged areas – corals, sponges and seagrass – to environmentally relevant and realistic conditions over appropriate time-frames. This will generate pressure-response data that can be used during dredging for adaptive management and with pressure field modelling at the EIA stage for impact prediction purposes. Collectively, this will improve risk assessment processes, provide greater surety for regulators and dredging proponents of likely environmental outcomes, and allow more informed decision-making and dredging policy design.