Skip to main content
Environmental Monitoring

Page last updated on 02-04-2024.

Environmental Monitoring

The Port has committed $17 million for environmental monitoring as part of the Channel Upgrade project.

Key monitoring programs the Port has implemented include:

  • Dolphins
  • Shorebirds
  • Seagrass
  • Coral
  • Water quality
  • Underwater noise

* Reports from our independent experts will be uploaded as they are received


Shorebird monitoring for the Channel Upgrade project has been undertaken on Port land and the sand spit to the east of Ross River during the shorebird migratory season (October to February) since 2018. These surveys have been undertaken by NRA Environmental Consultants across low and high tides during the peak migratory period. Shorebird surveys will continue until the completion of the Channel Upgrade project, with annual summary reports providing insight into shorebird populations during the works.


The Port engaged experts from Flinders University (in collaboration with Southern Cross University and Blue Planet Marine) in 2019 to study the ecology of two listed species of dolphins in the Townsville region, in relation to construction activities associated with the Channel Upgrade project. The inshore dolphin monitoring program is being undertaken via a series of boat based surveys in June and July each year for five years (2019-2023) to assess Australian Snubfin and Australian Humpback dolphin populations in Cleveland and Halifax Bays.


The Port of Townsville and JCU's TropWater team have been engaged in a partnership since 2007 to assess and monitor seagrass in Cleveland Bay. Our annual surveys were increased to twice yearly in 2019 as part of the Channel Upgrade project. Seagrass show measurable responses to changes in water quality making them ideal to monitor and understand the overall health of the marine environment in Townsville.


Coral monitoring is being undertaken by Reef Ecologic at nine locations in Cleveland Bay with surveys undertaken quarterly in March, June, September and December. The program commenced in April 2020 and sites continued to be monitored throughout the dredge period.

Water quality

Water quality monitoring in 13 different sites began in July 2019, with the Port contracting GHD to undertake the works. The Port is transitioning to using telemetered sites to provide real time data during the dredging, with controls to be implemented based on the outputs from this program.