The Conservation Council of WA has called on Environment Minister Stephen Dawson not to extend the environmental approval for the Port Grey Marina and dredging proposal in the Peel-Harvey inlet.
CCWA said the project has not commenced and if not ‘Substantially Implemented’ the approval will expire on August 1 unless the Minister approves an extension.
CCWA argued that the environmental quality of the Peel Harvey Easterly has declined since the assessment of the project five years ago, and the project should be allowed to expire or a fresh environmental assessment undertaken.
CCWA Ecologist Dr Nic Dunlop said recent catastrophic black-water events in the Murray River and Peel Inlet are known to have killed over 30,000 fish, and demonstrate that water and sediment quality in the system is in a parlous state.
“Canal and dredging projects like the Point Grey proposal are likely to trigger similar de-oxygenation events by mobilising anoxic sediment, recycling stored phosphorous, and mobilising heavy metals.
“CCWA’s Citizen Science research program has been investigating heavy metal contamination in the estuarine food chain. We are only now beginning to examine and understand possible pathways for contamination, which was not identified or understood at the time the original assessment of the Point Grey proposal.
“Developments like the Point Grey proposal will add to the problems of excessive nutrients in the system causing algal blooms and formation of toxic sulphidic sediments (black-ooze). These conditions already severely compromise the environmental quality of the Ramsar listed Peel-Yalgorup system.
“It is very likely the environmental conditions in the eastern parts of the estuary have continued to decline since the approval was granted, increasing the already significant ecological hazards associated with this project.”