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Australian Conservation Foundation says Port Phillip Bay in trouble

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) claims sediment plumes from bay dredging in Victoria may be worse than predicted. See their satellite images (in PDF format).

This article was originally posted to www.bluewedges.org on 23 April 2008.

The conservation foundation has launched its own independent water quality tests off Sorrento in Victoria, claiming it doesn't trust the official monitor.

They say pictures obtained from satellite images suggest plumes are too big.

'There are certain boundary limits on those particular dredge plumes, looking at the satellite photograph it looks very much like the plume is going well beyond that boundary,' said Conservation Foundation's Chris Smyth. Results from the tests are expected to come through next month, with the official independent monitor happy to consider them.

'I'm not here to judge the motives of others but we are here to look at the information they can bring to the table,' said Independent Monitor Mick Bourke.

Conservation Foundation officials concede even if their tests find turbidity levels are acceptable that will not change their opposition to dredging.

'The project is inappropriate for Port Phillip Bay, we think the risk of Port Phillip Bay is too great,' said Mr Smyth. (Skynews Report)

And from the ACF website:

New satellite images of Port Phillip Bay suggest the size of the plume from the dredging vessel may be breaching the limits set by the Victorian Government.

“These satellite images suggest the plume has spread further than was predicted in the State Government’s environmental management plan,” said ACF’s Marine Campaign Coordinator Chris Smyth.

“We are concerned there has been no public comment by the Port of Melbourne or the government officials acting as the project’s environmental monitor on this possible breach of the environmental management plan.

Satellite images cannot tell the full story. That’s why it’s so important to get out on the water and do thorough, scientifically-accurate monitoring,” he said.

Monash University scientists are conducting independent scientific monitoring as part of ACF’s BayMonitor program , following widespread concern about the adequacy of the dredging project’s official monitoring program.

Mr Smyth said the scientists were currently testing the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water at locations around Port Phillip Bay.

“Our aim is to conduct solid, independent testing, to shine some light on the Port’s monitoring program and alert the community to the environmental consequences of the channel deepening.

“At present the BayMonitor program is being funded by the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, with some philanthropic support, but if it is going to continue for the duration of the dredging we will need more financial help,” Mr Smyth said.

Comments

These images are useful, but the ACF didn't help Jenny Warfe at all, at the beginning of her campaign and has left its pitch too late.
I am sick of these professional 'environmental' organisations which, like politicians, jump on the bandwagon when it is going full steam, in order to take credit for the hard work of others.

If the dredging is called off, I won't thank the ACF, I will thank the Blue Wedges.

Albert A.