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Publication Detail
Knowledge gained from marine environmental monitoring during dredging at Barrow Island
  • Publication Type:
    Conference
  • Authors:
    Styan CA, Elsdon T, Marnane M, Carey M, Morgan C, Rouphael T, des Lestang P
  • Place of publication:
    Australia
  • Published proceedings:
    APPEA Journal
  • Volume:
    53
  • Name of conference:
    Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association Conference
  • Conference place:
    Australia
  • Conference start date:
    26/05/2013
  • Conference finish date:
    29/05/2013
Abstract
Monitoring required by regulators as part of environmental approvals in Australia has become increasingly complex and is sometimes viewed simply as the cost of developing projects, particularly in recent years. Monitoring programs, however, provide an important opportunity to learn about complex ecological systems and how they fare during large-scale disturbances, potentially with both project-specific and industry-wide benefits. During the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project's major-capital dredging program, an unprecedented amount of information was collected about water quality and coral. Water quality was monitored continuously at 36 sites and the condition of nearly 1,600 individually labelled corals measured fortnightly during 18 months. While daily and fortnightly reports were provided for compliance purposes, a significant investment was also made by Chevron to a Predictive Links investigation, to re-analyse data to gain a better understanding between water quality and sedimentation with changes in coral condition. This additional investment resulted in a number of important research findings including revised water-quality thresholds for maintaining coral health that are based uniquely on field measurements during an actual dredging program. Subsequently, when environmental approvals were being sought for the nearby Wheatstone project, Chevron had a much better understanding of dredging and its potential effects on coral reefs in the region. The Wheatstone program now incorporates these data and ideas, and has allowed Chevron to have greater confidence in the dredging program being proposed, the likely impacts on coral assemblages, and how these should be managed and monitored
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