TITLE

Temporal Patterns in Seawater Quality from Dredging in Tropical Environments

AUTHOR(S)
Jones, Ross; Fisher, Rebecca; Stark, Clair; Ridd, Peter
PUB. DATE
October 2015
SOURCE
PLoS ONE;10/7/2015, Vol. 10 Issue 10, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Maintenance and capital dredging represents a potential risk to tropical environments, especially in turbidity-sensitive environments such as coral reefs. There is little detailed, published observational time-series data that quantifies how dredging affects seawater quality conditions temporally and spatially. This information is needed to test realistic exposure scenarios to better understand the seawater-quality implications of dredging and ultimately to better predict and manage impacts of future projects. Using data from three recent major capital dredging programs in North Western Australia, the extent and duration of natural (baseline) and dredging-related turbidity events are described over periods ranging from hours to weeks. Very close to dredging i.e. <500 m distance, a characteristic features of these particular case studies was high temporal variability. Over several hours suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) can range from 100–500 mg L-1. Less turbid conditions (10–80 mg L-1) can persist over several days but over longer periods (weeks to months) averages were <10 mg L-1. During turbidity events all benthic light was sometimes extinguished, even in the shallow reefal environment, however a much more common feature was very low light ‘caliginous’ or daytime twilight periods. Compared to pre-dredging conditions, dredging increased the intensity, duration and frequency of the turbidity events by 10-, 5- and 3-fold respectively (at sites <500 m from dredging). However, when averaged across the entire dredging period of 80–180 weeks, turbidity values only increased by 2–3 fold above pre-dredging levels. Similarly, the upper percentile values (e.g., P99, P95) of seawater quality parameters can be highly elevated over short periods, but converge to values only marginally above baseline states over longer periods. Dredging in these studies altered the overall probability density distribution, increasing the frequency of extreme values. As such, attempts to understand the potential biological impacts must consider impacts across telescoping-time frames and changes to extreme conditions in addition to comparing central tendency (mean/median). An analysis technique to capture the entire range of likely conditions over time-frames from hours to weeks is described using a running means/percentile approach.
ACCESSION #
110195807

 

Related Articles

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics