The establishment of a future NESP dredging research investment framework

Britta Schaffelke 100dpi
Led by: Dr Britta Schaffelke, AIMS


Project Summary

The project will conduct an inclusive facilitated workshop with key researchers and stakeholders to identify the future knowledge needs for improved management of dredging activities in the GBR. Building upon the recent dredging synthesis and other resources, this workshop will distill a clear, prioritized research framework to inform future NESP investment into dredging research. The framework will: (i) define the scope of work required to develop and apply improved sediment transport models for the GBR lagoon, (ii) identify and quantify the type and extent of ecological impacts, especially of maintenance dredging activities and (iii) identify management options including innovative amelioration approaches.

Problem Statements


The project will conduct a facilitated workshop with key researchers and stakeholders to establish the research framework for future NESP investment in dredging research in the GBR. Improved certainty in the information utilised for management decisions on dredging projects in the GBR, will result in less adversarial debate and more focus on innovative solutions. The recently completed report “Synthesis of current knowledge of the biophysical impacts of dredging and disposal on the GBR” outlined knowledge gaps important for the future improved management of dredging activities in the GBR. This document, together with the findings of the currently underway dredging science node of the Western Australian Marine Institution (WAMSI), which AIMS plays a major role in, will inform the future NESP TWQ Hub dredging research agenda prior to the investment of significant funding by the Australian Government.

How Research Addresses Problem

It is essential that the stakeholders and researchers set an agreed research agenda that delivers strategic information needed to allow the debate to progress towards developing workable ‘real life’ solutions for the Ports Industry while addressing water quality decline and ecosystem health impacts in the GBR. Without an agreed research framework, well-intended research work will occur in isolation and may struggle to achieve end-user acceptance.

Project Keywords

Dredge management; Sediment; Turbidity.

Project Funding

This project is jointly funded through AIMS, JCU and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.

Project Publications
NESP TWQ Project 1.9 Final Report
Final Report