Port of Brisbane – Beneficial reuse of dredge material

Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd’s (PBPL) sustainable approach to dredge material management focuses on both beneficial reuse to create new port land and long-term sediment reduction to minimize future maintenance dredging requirements. It considers:

  1. requirements to annually manage approximately 450,000 cubic meters of fine sediment removed from channels
  2. supporting long-term projected trade growth and market demand by developing new port land
  3. reduction of maintenance dredging through the management of sediment sources and modelling of sediment dynamics to inform efficient dredging practices.

The Port’s 224-hectare Future Port Expansion (FPE) area comprises a series of internal paddocks at various stages of reclamation. Reclamation is forecast to continue until 2050. Material dredged from the channel is typically placed into these paddocks; placement of material over many years elevates land to a suitable height to be capped and improved to expand the growing Port. Internal areas are developed for customer facilities and river frontage developed as shipping terminals and berths, supporting future trade and economic activity for Queensland. Since 2010, approximately 7.8million m3 of maintenance dredged material has been placed at the FPE, reducing what would otherwise be placed at sea (under permit).

In 2019, PBPL voluntarily established a Dredging Technical Advisory Consultative Committee to increase transparency and stakeholder input into PBPL’s dredging activities which includes government, research, Indigenous, non-government and community stakeholders.

Reuse of material for land creation has generated additional environmental benefits. The FPE provides an important high tide roosting habitat for endangered migratory shorebirds while the rock wall provides an artificial hard substrate habitat for marine flora/fauna. PBPL has also commenced work to substantially reduce the amount of sediment depositing in the channel over the long-term through initiatives such as its Offsite Stormwater Treatment Project – creek and riverbed rehabilitation within the regional catchment – and NCOS Online Sediment Module – technology to better understand sediment movements and ultimately reduce maintenance dredging requirements.