Management of Ports and Coastal facilities
The expansion of port facilities across northern Australia is a high profile issue, especially on the northeast coast in proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. TropWATER is uniquely placed to develop the applied science and monitoring solutions required for successful environmental management of ports, with science expertise across the broad range of fields required and a track record of turning that science into applied solutions for ports and shipping management. In addition TropWATER encompasses units that develop specific cutting edge monitoring equipment and maintains a fleet of vessels and monitoring equipment in house to maintain capability.
TropWATER staff and members have been working with port authorities on applied research and monitoring programs at numerous sites for over 20 years, developing long-term datasets that not only answer management-related questions, but that have greatly advanced the fundamental science around marine ecology, especially that of seagrasses, which form the largest component of our work in ports. Even with this long history, the recent expansion of interest in port facilities has created significant growth for TropWATER.
TropWATER currently conducts environmental monitoring in all the major ports of north Queensland - Gladstone, Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point, Townsville, Mourilyan Harbour, Cairns (Trinity Inlet), Thursday Island, Weipa and Karumba. Our port-related research includes benthic habitat mapping, seagrass monitoring, mangrove health assessment, dugong and turtle health and population monitoring and water quality, long-term logging of turbidity and light penetration characteristics, artificial engineered seascapes as fish habitat, dredging monitoring and modelling and remote sensing analysis of sediment plumes.
More than 50 of our staff and centre members have been involved in these various activities. Our staff sit on technical expert panels related to port development in Gladstone, Karumba, Weipa, Hay Point, Abbot Point and Darwin Harbours. With continued expansion and necessary maintenance dredging of port facilities, this will remain an area of focus for us. An overview of our seagrass work in Queensland ports can be found on the TropWATER website.