Staff in our marine team have just returned from a survey for Harwich Haven Authority on the Stour and Orwell Estuaries.
Our team have been grab sampling at more than 40 locations in the estuary. This is the final year of a monitoring plan to assess the potential impacts of dredging and disposal on the benthic communities in the area. This survey has been undertaken annually since 2008, and prior to that was done at five year intervals following their initial capital dredge consent in 1997.
Our biologists will now go through the samples identifying benthic fauna as well as carrying out particle size analysis on each sample. We will report our findings to Harwich Haven Authority later in the year, showing what has been found this year as well as making comparisons with previous years’ data. Up to this point we have found that there does not seem to be any adverse impact on the biological communities in the estuaries directly linked to the dredge disposal. Harwich Haven authority have met their obligations under the original licence and are now looking at future monitoring within the estuaries.
Thomson Unicomarine and Harwich Haven authority are now working closely together to design a new monitoring plan, which will be based on the knowledge and understanding of the benthic communities during this period, liaising with the nature conservation and regulatory authorities.