Committees of Management on the coast
What is dredging?
Dredging is the term given to digging, gathering, or pulling out material to deepen waterways, create harbours, channels, locks, docks and berths, desilt lakes and keep river entrances and approaches to boat ramps clear. The material removed during dredging can vary greatly and can be any combination of rocks, clays, silts or sands.

Series No. 2

Impacts of dredging
Dredging activities have the potential to change the environment. Marine environment/ communities At the sites of dredging and disposal the seabed and associated communities are disturbed and for some distance, suspended sediment may cause turbidity in water and increased sedimentation on the bottom. Water quality Depending upon the nature of the dredged material, its disturbance from the sea bed may lead to changes in the chemical composition of the water. Eg. many toxicants such as heavy metals and organic contaminants tend to stick to particulate matter and sink to the sediment. Some of these contaminants are very persistent in the sediment and some may change their oxidation state during burial, which alters their solubility. If these sediments are disturbed, the contaminants can be released to the water column and affect marine life. Human health As well as toxicants, the nutrient elements, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, which control the rate of marine plant growth can also be released from sediments during dredging, with a risk of triggering algal blooms. Not only nutrients are important here - many of the toxic algal species, which are a health risk for consumers of shellfish, have a resting stage (cyst) which lies in the sediment. If dredging disturbs these cysts when conditions are favourable, a bloom of toxic algae may be caused. Another biological risk from dredging involves the transport of species in dredgers from one port (or even country) to another. Exotic marine pests are now recognised as a major environmental concern and steps must be taken to minimise their transport to new environments.

Why dredge?
Dredging takes place to: ♦ maintain the depth in existing ports, harbours and channels to provide ready and safe passage for commercial and recreational vessels. create new or deeper access or berths for vessels. This may mean the deepening and widening of channels and anchorages as well as the excavation of basins and marinas from areas of previously dry land. to provide material for specific purposes, eg. beaches in coastal areas subject to erosion are sometimes ‘renourished’ with sand dredged from other areas. To bypass an artificial structure , such as a breakwater, that is an obstacle to the normal pattern of sediment movement along the coast. Dredging prevents a build up of material to be deposited down stream of the obstacle to allow the natural sediment transport process to occur.

Fact sheet

3. Where new dredging works occur in an area subject to a planning scheme a planning permit is also required. eg.dse. This referral is as a request for further information in accordance with section (39) (2) of the Coastal Management Act 1995 Further information on dredging can be sought from your local DSE Regional Coastal Planners. must satisfy the requirements of the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981. other than beach renourishment and sand by-passing operations. Consent to the dredging activity subject to conditions.gov. Gaining approval to dredge .epa. bay or inlet in Victorian waters. Coastal Crown land is the sea bed. Proposals likely to involve large environmental. Applications to dredge should be directed to your local regional DSE Office. essential reading for any organisation planning to dredge or dispose of spoil in the Victorian marine.au/coasts & marine. It is the proponent’s responsibility to determine whether the action/ activity proposed is a ‘controlled action’ under that Act. Coastal Management Act consent . The guidelines address the environmental issues and controls involved in dredging.vic. 2 Application referred to EPA. Fact sheet www. In an area of national significance such as a Ramsar listed site.au/Publications/ Search under G alphabetically. Applications made on this form should meet all requirements of the Guidelines.gov.gov. and banks and any Crown land within 200m of the tidal influence of rivers and streams entering a sea. or contained within EPA Best Practice Environmental Guidelines for Dredging. the Minister or DSE delegate will decide to either: ♦ ♦ ♦ Consent to the dredging activity. Contact www.application. Applications to dredge received by DSE may be referred to EPA for expert advice in relation to compliance with the Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines for Dredging. estuarine or river environments.vic. Decision on an application to dredge.gov. Published by the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment April 2004 © The State of Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment 2004 This publication is copyright. loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.Coastal Management Act 1995 Other approvals that may be required. or refuse to consent to the dredging activity. This form is available on the DSE website www.dse. On the open coast.Dredging approvals. social or economic impacts may also be subject to an EES under the Environmental Effects Act 1978. the dumping of dredged material. Westernport Bay.vic. www. the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 may apply. Applications should be made on a specific application form for dredging. The EPA's Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines for dredging .au for assistance.au . Contact the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136186 for more details. A copy of the Guidelines can be gained from the Environment Protection Authority. No part may be reproduced by any process except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968.ea. Taking into account the advice received from the EPA. ISBN 1 74106 862 2 (set) For more information contact: 136186 This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error. The applicant will be informed in writing of any decision made regarding the application. administered by the Environment Protection Group of Environment Australia. If you plan to dredge you must gain consent from the Minister or delegate under the Coastal Management Act 1995 to use and develop coastal Crown land. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has produced Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines for Dredging. 1.

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