We undertook maintenance dredging at the Port of Mackay in December 2020.

Just like roads, shipping channels and other navigational areas require maintenance to keep ports operating effectively.

Maintenance dredging involves relocating siltation which travels along the coast and accumulates where our shipping operations occur.

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Project Overview

Before 2020, maintenance dredging last occurred at the Port of Mackay in 2013. Since then, we have managed siltation through regular bed-levelling. Surveys prior to the 2020 project showed showed increased siltation requiring maintenance dredging.

Maintenance dredging concluded on 24 December 2020. About 140,000mof natural sediment was removed from the Port of Mackay and placed at the approved Dredge Material Placement Area (DMPA), 2km north of Slade Islet.

We engaged the Port of Brisbane to undertake the maintenance dredging, using the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge (TSHD) Brisbane, supported by a bed leveller and survey vessel.

The maintenance dredging was undertaken in accordance with all relevant State and Commonwealth maintenance dredging permits, and in line with the Queensland Government Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports.

NQBP continued its rigorous environmental management program including monitoring of water quality, seagrass and coral communities, with no incidents occurring.

Throughout the dredging, we engaged with key stakeholders including the Mackay Technical Advisory and Consultative Committee (TACC).

Members of the TACC included:

  • conservation groups
  • Traditional Owners
  • scientists
  • community
  • port users
  • Commonwealth and State government representatives.

Download the project factsheet.

Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay safety messaging

What is dredging?

Maintenance dredging involves relocating sediment which travels along the coast and naturally accumulates where our shipping operation occurs over time.

The built-up sediment is then relocated in an approved area at sea, 2km away from port operations. This approved area is called the Dredge Material Placement Area (DMPA).

Environmental monitoring and management measures will be in place throughout the works to minimise the impact on the marine environment.

How will it happen?

A specialist Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge vessel, the ‘TSHD Brisbane’ will be used. It will operate 24/7 alongside a survey vessel and a bed‑levelling vessel.

The ‘TSHD Brisbane’ will spend time operating within the Port of Mackay, making frequent trips between the Port and the Dredge Material Placement Area.

What approvals are in place?

We hold the required Commonwealth and State permits to conduct maintenance dredging at the Port of Mackay including at sea placement of dredged material within the Dredge Material Placement Area.

The permits carry a range of conditions to protect the marine environment.

Our approach to maintenance dredging and our extensive marine monitoring program is set out in Port of Mackay Long Term Dredge Management Plan 2012-2022. This plan is was created in accordance with the relevant conditions of Commonwealth and State permits.

It is available in four sections:

The Long Term Dredge Management Plan 2012-2022 is supported by a Supplementary Report. The Supplementary Report outlines recent changes to legislation and our associated approvals as well as our commitments to marine monitoring, including surveys of introduced marine pests, seagrass, spoil ground benthic infauna, fringing reef and benthic biota and water quality.

Our maintenance dredging program aligns with the Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports released by the Queensland Government and the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan. The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan is the Australian and Queensland Government’s overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef to 2050.

We have prepared a Long Term Maintenance Dredge Management Plan 2018-2043 to meet the requirements of the Queensland Government and Australian Government's  Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports.

COVID-19 measures

In June 2020 we successfully completed the annual maintenance dredging program at the Port of Weipa during strict COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

We overcame unique challenges to deliver the project safely.

We worked closely with our contractors and port stakeholders as well as Queensland Health and Maritime Safety Queensland to implement a Project Health Management Plan to control risks associated with COVID-19.

Environmental approvals

We hold the required Commonwealth and State permits to conduct maintenance dredging at the Port of Mackay including at sea placement of dredged material within the Dredge Material Placement Area.

The permits carry a range of conditions to protect the marine environment.

Our approach to maintenance dredging and our extensive marine monitoring program is set out in Port of Mackay Long Term Dredge Management Plan 2012-2022. This plan is was created in accordance with the relevant conditions of Commonwealth and State permits.

It is available in four sections:

The Long Term Dredge Management Plan 2012-2022 is supported by a Supplementary Report. The Supplementary Report outlines recent changes to legislation and our associated approvals as well as our commitments to marine monitoring, including surveys of introduced marine pests, seagrass, spoil ground benthic infauna, fringing reef and benthic biota and water quality.

Our maintenance dredging program aligned with the Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports released by the Queensland Government and the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan. The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan is the Australian and Queensland Government’s overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef to 2050.

We have prepared a Long Term Maintenance Dredge Management Plan 2018-2043 to meet the requirements of the Queensland Government and Australian Government's  Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports.

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