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Characteristics of sediments


Predicting and measuring the characteristics of sediments generated by dredging
Characterisation and prediction of dredge-generated sediment plume dynamics and fate

Other Details: 

Dredging Science Program: Theme 2 and 3
Location: Pilbara and Kimberley
Project Leader:,Graham Symonds, CSIRO
Telephone: 6369 4015


Generation of sediments by dredging_Review_WAMSI DSN Report 2.1_Mills & Kemps 2016_FINAL

Estimating dredge source terms – a review of contemporary practice in the context of Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia WAMSI DSN Report 2.2 Kemps & Masini 2017 FINAL

Optical remote sensing for dredge plume monitoring_Review_WAMSI DSN Report 3.1.1_Fearns et al 2017_FINAL

Sediment transport processes_Review_WAMSI DSN Report 3.1.2_Lowe & Ghisalberti 2016_FINAL

Numerical modelling of dredge plumes_Review_WAMSI DSN Report 3.1.3_Sun et_al 2016_FINAL


Theme 2/3 will study near- and far-field plumes around the Chevron Wheatstone dredging program (due to commence in 1st quarter 2013).

The overall objective of this project is;

To develop protocols and guidelines for field, lab, remote sensing and numerical modelling procedures for (a) predicting and (b) monitoring dredge plume dispersal and the corresponding zones of impact.

To achieve this objective the project aims to improve understanding of the key physical processes that control the extent, intensity and duration of dredge generated sediment plumes from the actual dredge site and dredge spoil grounds and the deposition/resuspension processes across a range of habitats that may lead to further dispersal by currents and waves. The theme consists of numerical modelling, laboratory experiments, and a coordinated field program. Field measurements of sediment and plume characteristics will be obtained from the near-field dynamic plume to the full extent of the passive plume. In addition, measurements of the smaller-scale sediment transport processes, which control the deposition and resuspension of dredge plumes over a range of benthic substrates and habitat types, will be undertaken. These results will improve predictions of zones of impact and provide necessary datasets to map ecological responses (as defined by other themes).


Sun C et al. Generation and Transport of Dredge Plumes – Synthesis of knowledge and considerations for management, 2017 WAMSI Research Conference  (audio) Presentation slides

Fearns P et al. Remote Sensing of Dredge Plumes – how and how not. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audioPresentation slides

Lowe R et al. Sediment deposition over benthic habitats – corrections for sediment transport models 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audioPresentation slides

Babcock R et al. Measurement and modelling of key demographic processes in corals of the Dampier Archipelago. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audioPresentation slides


Dufois F, Lowe R, Rayson M, Branson P. (2018) A numerical study of tropical cyclone-induced sediment dynamics on the Australian North West Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1029/2018JC013939

Dufois F, Lowe R, Branson P, Fearns P. (2017) Tropical cyclone-driven sediment dynamics over the Australian North West Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1002/2017JC013518

Pomeroy A, Lowe R, Ghisalberti M, Winter G, Storlazzi C, Cuttler M (2018) Spatial variability of sediment transport processes over intra‐ and subtidal timescales within a fringing coral reef system. Journal of Geophysical Research

Dorji P, Fearns P (2017) Impact of the spatial resolution of satellite remote sensing sensors in the quantification of total suspended sediment concentration: A case study in turbid waters of Northern Western Australia. PLoS ONE

Pomeroy AW, Lowe RJ, Ghisalberti M, Storlazzi C, Symonds G, Roelvink D (2017), Sediment transport in the presence of large reef bottom roughness Journal of Geophysical Research 10.1002/2016JC011755

Cuttler MVW, Lowe RJ, Falter JL, Buscombe D (Dec 2016) Estimating the settling velocity of bioclastic sediment using common grain‐size analysis techniques Sedimentology 10.1111/sed.12338

Adams MP, Hovey RK, Hipsey MR, Bruce LC, Ghisalberti M, Lowe RJ, Gruber RK, Ruiz-Montoya L, Maxwell PS, Callaghan DP, Kendrick GA, O'Brien KR (2016), Feedback between sediment and light for seagrass: Where is it important?. Limnology and Oceanography., 61: 1937–1955. doi:10.1002/lno.10319

Lowe RJ and Falter JL (2015) Oceanic Forcing of Coral Reefs Annual Review of Marine Science DOI: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010814-015834

Pomeroy AWM, Lowe RJ, Ghisalberti M, Storlazzi CD, Cuttler M, Symonds G (2015) Mechanics of sediment suspension and transport within a fringing reef. Coastal Sediments 2015: DOI:

Dorji P, Fearns P. A. (2016) Quantitative Comparison of Total Suspended Sediment Algorithms: A Case Study of the Last Decade for MODIS and Landsat-Based Sensors. Remote Sensing. 2016; 8(10):810 doi:10.3390/rs8100810

Dorji P, Fearns P, Broomhall M (2016) A Semi-Analytic Model for Estimating Total Suspended Sediment Concentration in Turbid Coastal Waters of Northern Western Australia Using MODIS-Aqua 250 m Data. Remote Sensing. 2016; 8(7):556 doi:10.3390/rs8070556