Bushman’s Estuary Dredging

May 22, 2015

Residents on both banks of the Bushmans river have been horrified at the dredging which took place in February 2015 along a section of the western bank of the Bushmans river and which has resulted in piles of sand/mud being left over a distance of some 250 meters on the western bank of the river. A brief history of the project is taken from a letter dated 24th Feb 2015 written by CEN Integrated Environmental Management Unit, who acted as environmental consultants to the project,: The letter is addressed to Interested and Affected Parties.

“An authorisation for installing a gate system in the Bushmans Estuary to remove sediment accumulation in a portion of the western channel was issued by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in 2013. The gate was installed and agitation was used to facilitate the gate system. In November 2014, the applicant identified an area where rubble washed into the channel by floods a few years ago had accumulated. The rubble was said to be hampering the effectiveness of the system. The DEDEAT approved the removal of the rubble in an area of approximately 30 to 50 m in length and 5 m wide. Current excavation activities on the estuary have exceeded this area, and the removal of excess material from the estuary is not in compliance with the authorisation. It is estimated that ~3000 m³ of ‘rubble’ has been excavated and that this would need ~300 one-tonne trucks to remove it.”

Estuary Care initially supported the removal of the rubble from the river bed but became most concerned at the size of the dredging and the lack of control which became apparent.

Estuary Care lodged its objection to the dredging in a letter to the DEDEAT and received a response in mid-March 2015 indicating that the matter was receiving attention.

Subsequently Estuary Care was present at a site meeting on 26th March at which proposals were mooted as to where to dispose of the dredged material. Movement of the material has been prohibited however because permission is awaited (from DEDEAT) for trucks to move on the river bank within the tidal zone, No further information has been obtained since then and the 3000m³ of dredged material continues to sit on the bank.

bushmans_river

Bushmans River: Photo courtesy of David Stott

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