Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) Offsite Stormwater initiative has improved Southeast Queensland’s waterway health by tackling sediment pollution at its source. Research has identified that around 80% of sediment pollution in the lower Brisbane River and Moreton Bay comes from just 20% of the catchment, mostly from eroded streams in the Lockyer. PBPL, in partnership with several key stakeholders including Government regulators, catchment management authorities and community groups, has developed an innovative program that allows traditional onsite stormwater treatment funding to be collected and invested in catchment management projects.
To date, PBPL has invested over 1 million dollars to rehabilitate and stabilise 1.7km of Laidley Creek. This funding would have otherwise been spent on bio-retention basins for the future development of approximately 40 hectares of ‘low stormwater risk’ port land. In undertaking these works, PBPL prevented approximately 8,500 tonnes of sediment from entering Laidley Creek annually, most of which would have travelled to Moreton Bay. Under a ‘business as usual’ approach, treating the 40 hectares of port land can, at best, only prevent 46 tonnes of sediment pollution (about 80% of sediment pollution from unmitigated port lands). In addition to the sediment reduction benefit, catchment management delivers additional environmental benefits including enhanced terrestrial habitat connectivity, improved fish habitat, reduced weed loads, increased waterway shading, improved aesthetic water quality and has reduced nutrient and agricultural contaminant run off.
As as result of this innovative program, the Queensland Government has since developed the Offsite Stormwater Management Policy regulating an efficient and effective alternative stormwater management approach that can be applied to developments state-wide. PBPL is continuing to gather stormwater treatment funding from port development projects to invest in catchment management projects. We are currently partnering with the local government authority, Brisbane City Council, on an exciting project at Downfall Creek in Brisbane city.