Re-shaping the continent: Predicting and managing environmental impacts of dredging
Ross Jones (AIMS)
Dredging is a component of most port and marine infrastructure developments. Sediments generated by dredging can differ considerably from the native substrates being dredging. The released sediments can attenuate light to primary producers, reduce foraging success of secondary consumers, clog gills and filtering apparatus, and can force organisms to expend excessive energy self-cleaning. Deposited sediment can also interfere with settlement, development and survival of juveniles of benthic species.
There are many examples of current and planned large-scale dredging projects in Australia involving the removal of millions of cubic metres of sediments and spanning months to years. Many of these projects are in areas where there are macroalgal, seagrass, filter-feeder and coral dominated communities and there are uncertainties associated with the responses (and recovery potential) of these biota when exposed to sediments generated by dredging.
There is an urgent need to better understand the environmental effects of dredging (and other marine activities causing high turbidity and sedimentation rates) and this symposium welcomes presentations of laboratory and field studies that can provide information and insights that will assist in making informed management decisions regarding dredging projects.