Lower Vasse River Management - Improving Water Quality

Stage 1 - Removal of Sediment

The City of Busselton is progressing plans to commence the removal of sediment from the Lower Vasse River with the aim of improving water quality.

Nutrient-rich sediments have built up on the bed of the Lower Vasse River over many decades and are an important factor in fuelling the cycle of summertime algal blooms. 

While sediment removal alone is not expected to prevent algal blooms occurring in the River, it is an important step if we are to achieve the aim of significantly reducing the extent, severity and duration of blooms in the future.

Sufficient funds have now been secured to remove sediment in the section of the River between the Butter Factory and Causeway Road bridge. 

A funding application submitted to the State NRM Office to extend the dredging upstream from the Causeway Road bridge was unfortunately unsuccessful.

As opportunities arise, more funding applications will be made to support continued sediment removal further up the River.

Environmental and Aboriginal Heritage approvals for sediment removal are also required, and the City is seeking approval for sediment removal all the way from the Butter Factory to the Busselton Bypass.

It is envisaged that the first phase of sediment removal will commence in March or April 2022 and will be complete by around May 2022. There will be some disruption when the works are underway, especially in Rotary Park.

The proposed removal method will be pumping of soft sediment into porous geotextile bags, which retain fine sediments while water is expelled and returned to the river.

You can view Apex Envirocare’s video showing sediment removal at Roselea Estate here.

Image: Laydown area for geotextile bags – Rotary park

Project Timeline

February 2021 – Lower Vasse River Management Advisory Group selects sediment removal as the highest priority recommendation for implementation

April 2021 – City applied for funding under the Healthy Estuaries WA program and WA Community Stewardship Program

August 2021 – Council endorses $290,000 in 2021/22 budget towards sediment removal

September 2021 – City was awarded $350,000 under the Healthy Estuaries WA program

September 2021 – Tender for the first stage of sediment removal called

November 2021 - WA Community Stewardship Program funding application unsuccessful

December 2021 – Environmental and Heritage approvals decision

December 2021 – Dredging contractor appointed

February to March 2022 – Rotary park closed to set up dewatering bags laydown area

March to April 2022 – Dredging works commence (final start date will depend on contractor's availability)

March to May 2022 – Water quality monitoring

May to June 2022 – Sediment slurry dewatering commence

August 2022 – Dewatered sediments treated for Acid Sulphate Soils

August 2022 – Dewatered sediments transported offsite for reuse

August 2022 onwards – Bioremediation of dewatered sediments for reuse as soil amendment for revegetation (subject to final sediment composition)



Lower Vasse River Sediment Removal FAQs

Related Information

Sediment Disposal and Reuse Options Assessment

Environmental Management Plan for Carter's Freshwater Mussel Westralunio Carteri

Lower Vasse River - Dredge and Disposal Management Plan

Lower Vasse River - Acid Sulfate Soil and Dewatering Management Plan


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