Caring for Cockburn Sound (Derbal Nara)
Westport is investing in one of the largest-ever research programs to better understand the Cockburn Sound's, or Derbal Nara as it’s known to Noongar people, marine environment.
Taking a science-based approach to better understand potential impacts and opportunities and using this to inform design decisions, will support protecting Cockburn Sound for generations to come.
Westport has established a three-year partnership with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) as an independent science provider, to deliver a comprehensive research program that fills important knowledge gaps about Cockburn Sound’s ecosystem.
The WAMSI Westport Marine Science Program will progress environmental research and modelling that will:
- Establish environmental baselines and improve understanding of key ecological processes
- Help shape the concept designs and operational planning for the new port
- Inform mitigation strategies
- Complete on-ground ecosystem restoration trials to inform a long-term restoration plan
Our investment in understanding the environment we operate in will drive a sustainable design, ensure a robust environmental impact assessment process, and leave a legacy of a better managed Cockburn Sound for all.
Westport are also working closely with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation on the management of Cockburn Sound.
The research studies
Across nine key themes, WAMSI will conduct around 30 comprehensive research studies during the three-year partnership:
- Ecosystem modelling and integration
- Benthic habitats and communities
- Water and sediment quality
- Fisheries and aquatic resources
- Hydrodynamic modelling
- Social values
- Apex predators and iconic species
- Coastal processes
On-ground trials examining seagrass restoration and habitat creation are expected to start in 2022.
The results and outcomes of the research will inform Westport’s Environment Impact Assessment and environmental approvals.