Lower Vasse River Management - Improving Water Quality

Stage 1 - Removal of Sediment

The City of Busselton is progressing with 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.

Stage 1

Stage 1 of sediment removal was completed in early June 2022.

Approximately 600 tonnes of sediments were removed over the course of 7 weeks. The area dredged spanned from the Causeway Road Bridge to upstream from the pedestrian bridge, on Peel Terrace.

The slurry of sediments was pumped into porous geotextile bags, which retained the fine sediments while water was expelled and returned to the river.

The sediments will continue to dewater for an additional 6-8 weeks. After which they will be tested for the presence of acid sulfate soil, treated if required and transported off site for reuse. It is expected the works will be completed by August 2022.

Water quality in the river was closely monitored for the duration of the works to ensure no detrimental impacts from the dredging operation and the dewatering of the sediments.

Future stages

Planning for additional sediment removal is progressing, with an additional stage planned for later this year. A funding application was also submitted to the WA Government Community Stewardship Program for additional sediment removal in 2023.

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

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 for Stage 1 and WA Community Stewardship Program for Stage 2 of sediment removal

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 – Dredging contractor appointed

February 2022 – Environmental and Heritage approvals granted

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

April to early June 2022 – Dredging works

April to June 2022 – Water quality monitoring

May 2022 - City applied for funding under the WA Community Stewardship Program for Stage 3 of sediment removal

June 2022 – Sediment slurry dewatering commence

August 2022 – Dewatered sediments treated for Acid Sulfate 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)


Mayor's Message - Lower Vasse River Sediment Removal Project


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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