As you may have seen in the news, last Friday Jeff Seeney made a formal request to the Federal government for approval to dump dredge spoil on land. This comes after weeks of media speculation and an adjournment to our case until the onshore dumping is resolved.
Patricia Julien and Mackay Conservation Group have been working on the issue of the Caley Valley wetlands for many years now. See for example this story in 2012, when Patricia and Tub Wilson raised concerns about what coal port expansion would mean for the wetlands.
Pictured below: Patricia being interviewed at the wetlands in 2012, and right a pair of painted snipes
The Queensland government has put in a referral under Federal Environment Laws for a new proposal to dump dredge spoil adjacent to the current coal terminal at Abbot Point.
This site is where the Australian painted snipe has habitat. Other habitat for this species is next to the proposed rail embankment around the Caley Wetlands to be built with the dewatered dredge spoil, and that habitat will also be affected. The Caley Wetlands has the largest habitat for this species in Australia and as this is a threatened species its habitat needs protection.
The railway embankment will also block much of the flow between the northern and southern sections of the wetland as only two pipes will be built. That means most sediment will not reach the mouth of the estuary at Curlewis Bay and replenish the mud banks where migratory shorebirds feed at low tide.
Waste waters from the dredge spoil are to be channeled to settling ponds that will be adjacent to the wetlands. Any overflow from storm surge, cyclone or flood events will enter the wetlands. This proposal is a dredge spoil disposal proposal and not one that will ‘enhance’ the wetlands as claimed. The whole proposal is to be funded by taxpayers and not the coal terminal proponents.