VE awarded contract for New Zealand capital works dredge project

news-imageVE were extremely excited to have been awarded the contract to undertake baseline water quality monitoring for the proposed channel deepening project at Lyttelton Port of Christchurch. The capital program is required to deepen, widen and lengthen the channel to allow larger vessels to access the port. The proposed three year project is expected to result in material being dredged and disposed of at an offshore spoil ground. In order to assist in managing dredge operations and to protect the natural habitat, VE are installing over 14 telemetered (real time) monitoring stations providing data for physchem, weather and current profiling in addition to light logging. VE has established a branch office in Christchurch.

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LPC Enters Last Phase Before Channel Deepening Project

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) has just started its baseline water quality monitoring program for its proposed Channel Deepening Project, the largest environmental monitoring program ever undertaken for a dredging project in New Zealand.

LPC is planning to dredge the shipping channel in Lyttelton Harbor/Te Whakaraupō to deepen it in preparation for the visits of larger container ships.
Before any dredging can commence LPC must gain resource consent under the Resource Management Act to carry out the dredging and disposal. LPC plans to lodge its application later this month (September) and will request the consent is publicly notified.

The company will install 14 real-time water monitoring buoys throughout Lyttelton Harbor, Port Levy and offshore marine areas to ensure it has continuous live information on water quality. These instruments will collect information over a baseline period, including at least one year prior to dredging, during the proposed dredging, and for a period after completion of dredging.

Information from the sites will enable the proposed dredging operations to be constantly managed and adapted to ensure environmental effects are minimized and fall within anticipated levels.
LPC will invest more than $3 million on its environmental monitoring program, including the installation of the monitoring buoys. Leading marine, estuarine and freshwater consulting company Vision Environment, based in Australia, has been contracted by LPC to implement and manage the water monitoring system.

Parameters such as water turbidity (water clarity), pH, temperature and nutrient levels will be constantly measured during the baseline period.

It is expected that installation of the 14 buoys will continue for the next seven days.

Local Coral Gets Shady

coralNew research is being undertaken in Gladstone Harbour to determine how much sunlight local corals need to thrive, by covering them with shades. It is hoped that the outcome of the research will assist in the management of future dredging projects where coral habitats are at risk. Although corals are animals they live closely with algae which are plants and therefore need sunlight to survive. Turbid water caused by flooding or activities such as dredging may reduce the sunlight reaching the coral and therefore could inhibit coral growth.

Lead researcher Dr Ralph Alquezar from Vision Environment (VE) said there was very little known about how much light local species of coral required. “By placing shades over the coral for several weeks and measuring the negative effects of reduced light on the coral, such as bleaching and degradation, we can determine how much light they need to survive and grow.”

vision-newsBy then ensuring this amount of light was available to the coral during a dredging project, the approach could assist in managing the project and protecting the coral from potential degradation. A similar novel approach was implemented to protect seagrass during Western Basin Dredging Project in Gladstone, which resulted in minimal impact from dredging to important seagrass habitats.

“In order to minimize the impact to coral during the experiment, only small shards of transplanted coral are covered by the shades” Dr Alquezar said. The shades are placed over the coral by divers who also undertake the regular undersea coral health checks. “At the same time we measure the light under the shades and compare this to unshaded coral”

The research is a self-funded initiative of VE. Phase 1 of the shading experiments were conducted over several months in the Gladstone area. VE researchers are now planning phase 2 of the studies.

VE in top five tenders by dollar value to GRC

ValuesGladstone Regional Council has a policy of developing local business and industry as much as it can, while still ensuring that ratepayers are afforded good value for money. As a local company, VE were in the top five tenders by dollar value awarded by GRC for 2015. VE is currently undertaking the Gladstone Desalination Plant Environmental monitoring and Auditing project with a total value of over $1 million.

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Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

QITRC-Gala-Benefit---Vision-Environment2 QITRCVision Environment was proud to sponsor the Quoin Island Gala benefit which was a major fund raising event for the turtle rehabilitation centre located on the island. The target of $20,000 funds raised was reached which will contribute to the cost of basic needs such as food for the turtles. Previously, our region had no dedicated care facility for ill and injured marine turtles. Through the combined efforts of wildlife carers, volunteers, donors and corporate sponsors, QITRC is achieving great things for our endangered sea turtles.

Event Partner IQPC Dredge & Reclamation Conference

Vision Environment was pleased to be invited to be an event partner for the IQPC Dredge & Reclamation conference held at the Stamford Plaza, Brisbane. The two day conference attracted a number of speakers from major ports, dredge companies and service provider, in addition to holding key strategic workshops. Director Leonie Andersen presented a case study on the environmental monitoring undertaken by VE for the Western Basin Dredge and Disposal Project, Gladstone.

View the full program here.

SETAC Australasia Conference Sponsor

A number of Vision Environment research staff are members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), which is a global non-profit organisation interested in improving and sharing the science of the environment. Vision Environment has sponsored the annual conference for several years with some of the funding going towards supporting student prizes and encouraging participation in the science. In addition VE research staff have been presenting their research at the conference for over ten years, in addition to publishing the works in the SETAC peer reviewed journals.  It was a pleasure once again to support this highly regarded research organisation.

Vision Environment Office Opening


Vision Environment was pleased to formally open its new digs at 165 Auckland Street.

Utilising local designers and builders, the purpose built complex including offices and laboratories has raised the bar in terms of standards for an environmental company.

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RSPCA Van Donation

Gladstone-News-RSPCA-vanLocal Friends of the RSPCA were in need of a new van to transport foster animals between the pound, veterinary clinics and foster homes.

The organisation relies entirely on fund raising and donations to remain operational, receiving no government assistance.

Vision Environment was pleased to donate $25,000 towards the purchase of a van as a way of putting something back into the local community.


Vision Environment was featured in a segment by Catalyst in reference to water quality monitoring for the Western Basin Dredge and disposal project.  VE were happy to assist Mark Horstman and his film crew in capturing video of the dredge works being undertaken in the harbour in addition to some of the high level of sampling technology that VE was undertaking for the project.

Our Local Charity – Gladstone Salvation Army

VE are a regular supporter of the local Chapter of the Salvation Army. In 2013 VE donated $10,000 to assist the Gladstone Salvation Army in providing support to those families in need in the local area.