Aquatic Environment



Environmental Assessment, Mitigation & Rehabilitation

Turbidity plume from the Torrens River after heavy rainfallThe Environmental Assessment, Mitigation and rehabilitation subprogram conducts environmental research to ensure the sustainable use of marine ecosystems. Click here to download the Environmental Assessment, Mitigation and rehabilitation subprogram capability statement (.pdf).

Program overview

The Environmental Assessment, Mitigation and Rehabilitation subprogram, along with four other subprograms, comprise the Marine Environment and Ecology Program. The Marine Environment and Ecology Program is part of the Aquatic Sciences research division of the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), and is located at West Beach, near Adelaide.

The primary task of the Environmental Assessment, Mitigation and Rehabilitation subprogram is to undertake research related to the sustainable use of marine ecosystems. Key research areas are investigating causes of marine environmental degradation, developing strategies to mitigate potential degradation, and rehabilitation of degraded habitats. In addition, the subprogram undertakes commercial environmental impact assessments for a number of clients.

Currently the subprogram is undertaking a major project for DEH on seagrass rehabilitation along the Adelaide coast. Over the last several years, we have developed a unique method for enhancing the natural recruitment of Amphibolis seagrass seedlings, and this is showing great promise as a cheap means of rehabilitating relatively large areas. Further work is now being done with materials scientists at Flinders University to further develop the technique. Other work on seagrass has included examining the causes of seagrass loss along the Adelaide coats as part of the Adelaide Coastal Waters Study, and looking at the impact of freshwater drain discharges in the south-east.

The subprogram has also done extensive work with a number of commercial consulting and development companies to provide environmental impact assessments for dredging work and other marine developments. These include upgrades of Outer Harbour and Port Giles, marina developments and/or upgrades at Tumby Bay, Stansbury and Cape Jaffa, boat ramps at Ceduna, and a new bridge at Port Adelaide. In a similar vein, we have done a joint study with DEH to determine the likely effects of sand mining for beach replenishment at Section Banks. A large project is also being conducted for SA Water to provide baseline data on the marine environment for the proposed Port Stanvac desalination plant.

A major project to investigate the health of reefs between the Murray Mouth and Yorke Peninsula commenced in July 2004. This project is jointly funded by FRDC, DEH, SA Water, NRM and the EPA, and involved surveys of a series of reefs in 2005 and 2007. The subprogram is also involved in CLLAMMecology, a large collaborative project funded by CSIRO to examine the status of the Coorong and develop predictive models of its response to changes in flow regimes.

Recent Publications

Geddes MC & JE Tanner. 2007. Ecology of the Murray Mouth and Coorong 2004/2005; and comparisons with 2003/2004. SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.

Turner, D.J., Kildea T.N. and Westphalen G. 2007. Examining the health of subtidal reef environments in South Australia, Part 2: Status of selected South Australian reefs based on the results of the 2005 surveys. SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.

Wear, R. J Tanner, & S Venema. 2006. Seagrass rehabilitation in metropolitan Adelaide. III. Development of recruitment facilitation methodologies. SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.

Rowling, K, & J Tanner. 2006. Environmental assessment for proposed dredging of the destroyer wharf berth in the Port River. SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.

Wear, R. J., Eaton, A., Tanner, J. E., Murray-Jones, S. 2005. The impact of drain discharges on seagrass beds in the South East of South Australia. Final Report Prepared for the SENRCC and SECWMB. SARDI Aquatic Sciences and DEH, Adelaide.

Westphalen, G., O’Loughlin, E., Collings, G., Tanner, J., Eglinton, Y., & Bryars, S. 2005. Responses to reduced salinities of the meadow-forming seagrasses Amphibolis and Posidonia from the Adelaide metropolitan coast. Report to EPA.


Dr Jason Tanner,
Program Leader Marine Environment and Ecology
Tel: 08 8207 5489 Fax: 08 8207 5481
PO Box 120, Henley Beach, SA, 5022