WAMSI-Westport Marine Science Program
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.
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The WAMSI Westport Marine Science Program is one of the largest research projects ever undertaken in Cockburn Sound. Recognising the importance of Cockburn Sound, Westport is investing $13.5 million in environmental research and modelling to:
- 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, and
- Complete on-ground ecosystem and restoration trials to inform a long-term restoration plan.
With more than 100 scientists and researchers working across 30 projects, we will gain a better understanding of the area, which will be a key input into design, and leave a legacy of a better managed Cockburn Sound for all.
The results and outcomes of this research will also inform Westport’s Environmental Impact Assessment and environmental approvals processes.
Nine research themes were shaped from 16 workshops involving scientists, key stakeholders and community members who regularly use Cockburn Sound. Themes include:
Ecosystem modelling and integration
Developing an ecosystem modelling framework to understand and manage the effect of multiple pressures on the marine environment.
Benthic Communities and Habitats
Improve understanding of temperate benthic communities and processes, with a focus on seagrass, macroalgae and macroinvertebrates.
Sediment and Water Quality
Baseline monitoring surveys of water and sediment quality will help understand existing pollutants and variations.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Improve knowledge of the spatial and temporal distribution of fish and crustaceans in Cockburn Sound.
Modelling exploring how changes to Cockburn Sound’s seabed following port development will impact flushing and circulation.
Economic and Social Values
Identify the most important social and economic values to the community and users of Cockburn Sound.
Producing the baseline and future underwater ‘soundscapes’ of Cockburn Sound to understand, and manage, the potential effects of underwater noise.
Apex Predators and Iconic Species
Expand our knowledge of conservation-significant and iconic species in the Cockburn Sound area.
Integrate historical and new on-ground data, to investigate sediment transport and beach process in Owen Anchorage and Cockburn Sound.