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Lakes Entrance is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in Victoria and is increasingly used by local and visiting recreational vessels. Dredging at the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes has occurred for over a 120 years and has been essential for maintaining access between the Gippsland Lakes and Bass Strait since the permanent entrance was constructed in 1889. Ensuring port access is critical for the Lakes Entrance economy and local tourism.
Maintenance dredging is an ongoing activity. Dredging only involves clean oceanic sand. This is sand from the Ninety Mile Beach that has accumulated in the entrance and on the bar.
Gippsland Ports owns a Cutter Suction Dredge, the Kalimna, which dredges inside the entrance on an ongoing basis. A Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge (TSHD) is periodically contracted to maintain ocean access.
The Environmental Management Plan, sets out strict rules to ensure the environment is protected. These rules set out when, where and how dredging is to occur. The Plan consolidates obligations established under Victorian and Commonwealth approvals.
Due to the nature of the bar, the dredging work required and to ensure the safety of all mariners, mariners are advised to navigate with extreme caution and to maintain a safe distance from the vessel at all times. A Notice to Mariners will be issued for each dredging program.
2016 TSHD maintenance dredging program
In 2016, the Pelican TSHD is anticipated to relocate approximately 200 - 250,000m3 of clean oceanic sand predominantly from the Lakes Entrance Bar. There will also be some minor maintenance dredging of the inner channels.
The Pelican TSHD is due to arrive at Lakes Entrance in October / November 2015 and perform maintenance dredging for a period of up to eight weeks.
Pre - and Post-TSHD surveys of the Bar and inner channels will be available on the Bathymetric Surveys section of our website once they have been completed.
TSHD maintenance dredging weekly progress updates will be available here once dredging has commenced.
10-year Sea Dumping Permit
The Department of Environment issued Gippsland Ports a 10-year sea dumping permit to continue TSHD maintenance dredging of the Bar and inner channels. This permit extends until 2023.
A requirement of this permit is to have a Long Term Monitoring and Management Plan in place for maintenance dredging with ocean disposal.
The following documents provide some further information on dredging in the Port of Gippsland Lakes.