Modeling suspended sediment during construction of a marina in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
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Hardy, TA and Mason, LB and McConochie, JD and Bode, L, Modeling suspended sediment during construction of a marina in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 130, (9) pp. 1021-1031. ISSN 0733-9372 (2004) [Refereed Article]
A marina was constructed in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in close proximity to coral reefs that could be damaged by excess turbidity generated during construction. Since there was uncertainty about both the fate of suspended sediments and their effect on corals, initial water quality constraints were set very conservatively. In order to better understand the movement of suspended sediment during construction, a numerical model study was commissioned using three-dimensional, numerical, hydrodynamic, and Lagrangian particle tracking models. The study was successful in: (1) increasing the understanding of and reducing the uncertainty of sediment dispersal patterns under a range of common forcing conditions; (2) testing the variation in suspended sediment concentrations over sensitive areas for two different outfall locations; (3) offering evidence that a good choice in outfall locations will reduce the threat to corals; and importantly (4) presenting the results in a way that enhanced understanding by nontechnical reef managers. This final result was achieved by creating movies of sediment movement that clearly demonstrated the complex hydrodynamic processes involved with near-coastal water currents. Specific model results showed: (1) that a more seaward outfall increases effluent dispersal away from sensitive areas; (2) the highest concentrations of effluent over sensitive sites occur during no wind and neap tide conditions; and (3) prevailing southeast winds advect effluent offshore, away from sensitive sites. © ASCE.
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