Environment Update 2020

As we draw near to the end of 2020

Philip Haines

Managing Director,
Environment Australia

Phil Haines

I think I speak for the whole world when I say ‘bring on 2021’. This year has been characterised by extreme adversity, determination, and exhaustion! We have also learnt very quickly how to work remotely – to the point that we may never fully go back to the way we used to operate.

I have been extremely proud of the BMT Environment Australia team over the past 12 months. Not only have we persevered through the coronavirus challenges to continue delivering excellent and award-winning projects and products for our clients, we have worked through an internal business merger, which has brought our Western Australian and our Eastern Australian operations together as a single legal and trading entity.

I am also very proud to announce that we have received a number of awards and accolades this year, which is fitting recognition for the hard work and dedication of our staff – details of these are in the newsletter.

Finally, we are excited to advise that from January 2021, the Brisbane office of BMT will move to Level 5, 348 Edward Street Brisbane CBD (the old IBM building). We look forward to welcoming you there soon and showing you our lovely new workspace and outlook over Kind Edward Park.

From all of us at BMT, we wish you a wonderful festive season, and hope that you have a safe and well-earned break, so that we can usher in, hopefully, a much less turbulent 2021.


Philip Haines

Managing Director,
Environment Australia

Saving the Great Ocean Road from erosion

While the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is synonymous with the rocky coastline of the Twelve Apostles, this famed route also fringes highly active beaches and dunal systems. At Apollo Bay, less than 200km from Melbourne CBD, sand renourishment and other emergency works have been used in the past as temporary measures to protect the Great Ocean Road, but a more permanent solution is now being pursued.

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has sought the assistance of BMT in managing long term erosion risk at the iconic Apollo Bay foreshore including protection of the Great Ocean Road and other public assets. BMT is currently designing a series of permanent coastal protection structures that will maintain coastal amenity and community values, whilst limiting the impacts of existing and future coastal hazards.

Given the direct exposure to Bass Strait, BMT has also undertaken detailed wave modelling to define the metocean criteria required to support design of the new coastal structures at Apollo Bay.

Funding for the works will be provided from the Victorian Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works package.

For more information, contact Christian Taylor: christian.taylor@bmtglobal.com

Monitoring remediation success at Douglas Shoal

In April 2010 the Shen Neng 1 bulk carrier ran aground at Douglas Shoal, approximately 90km north-east of Gladstone, impacting about 40 hectares of coral shoal. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is in the process of remediating Douglas Shoal, to remove contaminants and loose rubble that continue to prevent natural recovery.

Following on from initial investigation works that documented and 

assessed the extent of the damage at Douglas Shoal, BMT has been assisting GBRMPA with environmental monitoring of the shoal. To date, BMT’s site investigations have provided a comprehensive snap-shot of the ‘before remediation’ environmental conditions, and have confirmed levels of contamination across the shoal. Similar ‘during’ and ‘after’ remediation surveys will also be carried out to document expected changes in environmental conditions. GBRMPA is currently running a procurement process to undertake the actual remediation works, with remediation expected to commence in 2021.

The remediation of Douglas Shoal will be a world-first for reef remediation at this scale.

For more information, contact Beth Toki: beth.toki@bmtglobal.com

Improved access to the Port of Cairns to boost tourism and economic development

The lack of deepwater access at Cairns was considered a major economic hurdle for Far North Queensland. Ports North (PN) therefore pursed a plan for deepening and widening of the entrance channel and basin at the Port of Cairns, large enough to accommodate large cruise vessels.

Since 2010, BMT has been assisting PN with their shipping development project, with significant contribution to the Environmental Impact Assessment (including extensive data collection, 3D hydrodynamic modelling of dredge plumes, marine ecological surveys, coastal processes, water quality, sediment quality), stakeholder engagement, design of engineering works, project management and environmental monitoring during construction (including real-time telemetered turbidity data). Being located in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the project had unique challenges and opportunities, with approval eventually granted in 2018 for dredging of approximately 800,000 cubic metres of soft and stiff clays, and onshore placement of all materials. The need for onshore materials placement and reclamation emerged following the Federal Government’s ban on sea disposal in 2015.

The success of the project was recently recognised by being awarded an Engineers Australia Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) 2020 for the Queensland Division.

For more information, contact Harry Sunarko: Harry.Sunarko@bmtglobal.com


Climate adaptation for iconic National Parks locations


While much public attention regarding climate change is drawn to eroding open beaches or inundation of canal estates, it is equally critical that our existing natural areas are preserved and managed to accommodate future climate conditions. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) sought the assistance of BMT to develop adaptation plans for the iconic recreational areas of Bobbin Head (within the Ku-ring-gai National Park) and Bonnie Vale (within the Royal National Park), to the north and south of Sydney, respectively. These low-lying sites fringe tidal waterways and are subject to a range of existing and future coastal hazards, including erosion and inundation.

BMT’s approach to adaptation planning allows for evidence-based decision-making that accounts for future uncertainty in climate and in environmental response. 

Easily measurable triggers are used to define future actions or more significant interventions. Importantly for these sites, all future adaptation options take account of their unique conservation and cultural significance and amenity.

We are now exploring how our adaptation approach can be applied to other NPWS sites and important conservation areas across the country.

For more information, contact Geoff Withycombe: Geoff.Withycombe@bmtglobal.com

Tassal Group receives approval for Proserpine Prawn Farm thanks to BMT’s AquaDEEP package

BMT recently assisted Tassal Group secure environmental approval for an expansion of their existing Proserpine Prawn Farm (PPF) in North Queensland. Using BMT’s AquaDEEP package, which is specifically designed to support the aquaculture industry, BMT developed a highly sophisticated computer model to simulate water quality throughout the PPF production and treatment ponds before discharging to the environment. From this, complete water and nutrient balances were established to support the expansion approval.

Beyond the environmental assessment, the PPF AquaDEEP model will also be used as an interactive tool so that Tassal Group can continue to optimise farm management practices and productivity whilst ensuring compliance with designated water quality targets.

Sustainable management of water and nutrients in land-based aquaculture can be challenging, but partnerships like this ensure evidence-based business decisions are taken.

For more information, contact Dan Botelho: Daniel.Botelho@bmtglobal.com



Proserpine BMT

BMT helps prepare national guidelines for climate resilient materials



In partnership with the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), BMT is helping to prepare new national guidelines regarding climate resilient materials. The new guidelines are focused on the suitability and sustainability of the most common construction materials used in asset rebuilding or renewal projects e.g. concrete, steel, bitumen, wood and PVC. It presents innovative solutions and practices to increase resilience to a range of natural hazards that will intensify due to climate change. They can be used for new construction and for asset life-extension works.

The new guidelines, known as Practice Note 12.2: Climate resilient materials for infrastructure assets (PN 12.2) will be released by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to supplement the existing Practice Note 12.1: Climate Change Impacts on the Useful Life of Infrastructure (PN 12.1), previously prepared by Northern Beaches Council and IPWEA.

For more information, contact Fahim Tonmoy: Fahim.Tonmoy@bmtglobal.com

Developing non-structural solutions for the Nadi River Flood Alleviation Project, Fiji

Nadi, located on the western side of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, is Fiji’s fourth largest city and is the principal port of entry for international visitors. Major floods have consistently impacted Nadi and interrupted economic activity for the country, with particularly devastating floods in 2004, 2009, 2012 and 2014 (2 events). The January 2009 flood, which devastated large areas of Fiji, claimed 11 lives, left 12,000 people homeless and caused FJ$113m of damage, most of which occurred in or around Nadi.
In partnership with the Government of Fiji, the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) is funding the watershed management elements of the broader Nadi Flood Alleviation Project. This Project aims to provide a holistic flood management strategy to reduce the frequency and severity of floods in the Nadi River Basin through a combination of structural and non-structural measures. BMT is assisting the AIFFP through various studies relating to non-structural floodplain management solutions.
To date, BMT has undertaken a combination of in-country and desktop technical analysis, including water level and sediment sampling, catchment hydrology, 2D TUFLOW flood modelling and mapping and disaster management.

For more information, contact Ben Caddis: Ben.Caddis@bmtglobal.com

Albany Waterfront Seagrass Rehabilitation Completed


BMT is pleased to advise that the seagrass rehabilitation offset program for the Albany Waterfront Harbour Development Project has now been successfully completed. The program involved transplanting 0.4ha of seagrass (Posidonia sinuosa) as an environmental offset for a development in Princess Royal Harbour, Albany, Western Australia. Since 2009, BMT has been assisting Development WA with this offset requirement through design, implementation and monitoring of the seagrass rehabilitation works.

This achievement is particularly significant as it is the first long-term commercial transplantation of seagrass, as an offset, which has been successfully brought to completion (as part of Ministerial Statement 787) in Western Australia. The Seagrass Rehabilitation Plan was one of the first seagrass transplantation plans developed and authorised by WA EPAS and significant improvements have been developed during this 10 year journey to completion. 

For more information, contact Jonathan Anderson: Jonathan.Anderson@bmtglobal.com

TUFLOW updates

2020 has been an exceptional year for our Software team, with new and exciting releases and features across the range of TUFLOW products, including Quadtree Processing, Sub Grid Sampling, TUFLOW-FV improvements (including GPU acceleration), and the new TUFLOW Water Quality module, which draws on the science of the University of Western Australia’s Aquatic EcoDynamics (AED2) model. Please see the link below to access our annual digest of TUFLOW news for 2020. 

Tuflow Newsletter 2020

BMT accolades during 2020

BMT and our staff have been recognised with a number of awards and accolades over the past 12 months, as presented below:

  • We have again been named as one of Australia’s most innovative companies in the 2020 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies List for our flood simulation software, TUFLOW. This year we delivered new groundbreaking features, such as Quadtree, subgrid sampling and TUFLOW FV-GPU. Visit www.tuflow.com for details.
  • The new Sunshine Coast Airport, which we have played a major role throughout the planning and construction phases over the past 10 years, was finally completed and opened, and in doing so won the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) Project of the Year.
  • The Cairns Shipping Channel (see article for details), which we have been involved with since 2010, was also completed during the year and received a 2020 Engineers Australia Queensland Engineering Excellence Award.
  • BMT is proud to have helped support the Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation’s Eco-Cultural Infrastructure Tourism Project at East Trinity Reserve (adjacent Cairns CBD), which was a National Award winner for the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Awards.
  • Greg Fisk has been appointed as climate champion for the Recreational Navigation Commission (RecCom) of PIANC, representing the RecCom on PIANC’s Permanent Task Group on Climate Change.
  • Cathie Barton was recognised by the Board of Professional Engineers Queensland (BPEQ) as part of their 90 years celebration and was profiled in their monthly newsletter.
  • The BMT Environment Australia team scooped the prizes at the annual BMT global awards, winning four of the eight categories. This is an amazing achievement given the size and diversity of BMT across the globe. A huge congratulations go to:
    • Karina Inostroza – Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award
    • Brianna Heeley – Newcomer of the Year Award
    • Sharon Wallace – Internal Customer Service Award
    • TUFLOW Team – Outstanding Innovation Award