What is turbidity?
Turbidity is a measure of water clarity.
The turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of the fluid which is caused by suspended particles.
What is BPAR?
The acronym BPAR means benthic photosynthetically active radiation, a measure of the amount of light that reaches the sea floor.
BPAR can be affected by factors in the air (cloud cover) or in the water (turbidity).
What do the colour icons mean?
Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) will be monitoring two types of water quality aspects throughout the Maintenance Dredging project; turbidity and BPAR (light). These water quality measures are displayed on the live map below.
If the turbidity level is below the 95th percentile at a site, it is represented by a green (level 1) circle icon. If the turbidity level is above the 95th percentile at a site, it is represented by an orange (level 2) circle icon.
BPAR (light) is the opposite, whereby a higher value is a better result. If the BPAR (light) level is above the minimum light threshold at a site, it is represented by a green (level 1) circle icon. If the BPAR (light) level is below the minimum threshold at a site, it is represented by an orange (level 2) circle icon.
Orange does not necessarily mean bad, just that the turbidity or light levels are reaching levels that are higher than average conditions. While dredging can impact turbidity and in turn light levels in the harbour, based on the two baseline campaigns undertaken for this project, together spanning more than eighteen months, it is expected that the most significant and frequent changes in turbidity and light will be driven by natural environmental factors.
These factors are typical of estuaries such as Port Curtis, as a result of spring tides, rainfall events/storms, high winds and large swell events.
How is the monitoring data used?
Monitoring stations located throughout Port Curtis provide real time data to a dedicated team of experts at GPC, as well as a third-party for additional technical support.
The team will monitor conditions and modify dredging operations as required to ensure turbidity caused by dredging does not impact on light levels.
What is a trigger?
A trigger is the threshold or percentile intensity of a site. For example:
Turbidity Level 2 is reached when turbidity values increase above the 95th percentile or ‘trigger’ for more than 24 consecutive hours.
BPAR (Light) Level 2 is reached when values decrease below the threshold or ‘trigger’ for seven consecutive days, indicating less light is available in the water column to reach seagrass.
If a trigger is reached, GPC will initiate an investigation to determine the likely cause and will notify regulators. If elevated or decreased levels are found to be caused by dredging, GPC will work with the dredging contractor to modify operations such as speeds or location.
Note: Specifically in the case of light, if reduced light conditions persist for 14 consecutive days and the investigation determines that dredging activities are the cause, GPC will cease dredging operations until light values return above the trigger for 24 hours. In this instance turbidity is expected to be elevated as dredging activates cannot directly affect light levels without a significant increase in turbidity.
Live monitoring for the 2020 campaign concluded on 28 October 2020. The below blog is contributed to by our Environment Monitoring Specialist, Freddie Pastorelli.
For more information regarding the CVIP, please email or phone our Corporate and Community Relations Team on 1800 243 GPC.