Site navigation
Department of Transport and Main Roads

Dredging management activities


'Plan' stage of Plan Do Check Act

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the organisation's policy

The activities to plan dredging involve:

  • identifying the environmental values of the port
  • conducting a baseline assessment
  • risk evaluation and prioritisation to evaluate options including their likelihood and consequence
  • risk management measures identifying controls to apply to improve risk
  • avoid, minimise, mitigate or offset are approaches applied to dredging methods and mitigation measures
  • documentation of plans for long-term maintenance dredging and for each dredging campaign.

Port sediment activities – put our operations into context

Understanding port sediment characteristics and risks and how they interact and contribute to broader catchment contributions within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is important for planning dredging activities.

Sediments and dredging at ports

The Queensland Ports Association (QPA) is responsible for the delivery of Water Quality Action 17 (WQA17) within the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. The objective of WQA17 is to “understand the port sediment characteristics and risks at the major ports and how they interact and contribute to broader catchment contributions within the World Heritage Area.” The QPA worked on a study with Queensland ports and the knowledge gained from this work contributes to the management of port operations in a sustainable way that does not adversely affect the Great Barrier Reef.

You can view the reports associated with this research on the website for each of the port authorities at the following links:

Port dredging and sediment references


'Do' step of Plan Do Check Act

Implement the processes

The activities to implement the dredging processes entail:

  • Stakeholder Engagement – consultative input required for best practice management of dredging programs and in the interests of a collaborative and transparent process.
  • Mobilisation - obtaining all required legal and regulatory requirements, preparatory work, operational requirements etc to undertake a dredging project.
  • Operations – undertaking dredging programs utilising leading practices, fit for purpose equipment and site relevant environmental protection measures.


'Check' step of Plan Do Check Act

Monitor and measure processes against policy, objectives, targets, legal and other requirements, and report the results

The activities for the measurement and analysis processes include:

  • operational Monitoring ensures that the information generated by the risk management process is captured, used and maintained and provides assurance that the risk management processes in place are achieving their objectives
  • reporting of data relating to dredging activities will allow better accountability, improve the transparency of process and broaden the understanding of the impacts of dredging activities
  • conforming to ensure compliance with all regulatory and legal requirements when undertaking dredging programs.


Information on the environmental monitoring programs at the ports:


'Act' stage of Plan Do Check Act

Take actions to continually improve performance of the management system

The actions taken for the continual improvement of the management system include:

  • Adaptive management - continually improving dredging management practices through adjusting to changing circumstances or new information about the effectiveness of prior measures or management. Adaptive management allows for best practice management to be implemented as technologies develop over time.
  • Reporting - is an important part of evaluating performance and guiding adaptive management.
  • Stakeholder engagement - is important for a transparent and collaborative adaptive management process.
Last updated 18 November 2022