Gordon Grainger, Myall River Action Group, confirms dredging benefits for Oysters

Local knowledge is often used and respected more widely in so many ways these days.

From the simple theory of watching local fisherman going on their daily jaunt to their favourite fishing spot, or even picking a lucky table for Bingo at the Tea Gardens Country Club.

But when it came to believing the tested theory of local oyster farmers and the expected effects dredging of the Myall River would have, the ‘experts’ involved weren’t quite convinced that dredging the river would improve the volume and rate of tidal flow.

Well, the oyster farmers we’re right all along.

Speaking with News Of The Area, Gordon Grainger from the Myall River Action Group said, “Some people may recall the various meetings that took place and statements where we were told.”

Photo courtesy of Tea Gardens Real Estate
Photo courtesy of Tea Gardens Real Estate

“We were told ‘the volume and rate of tidal flow had not varied since the closure’, and that ‘dredging would not alter that pattern’, and the somewhat ‘cynical response’ to the home based trials conducted by the oyster boys, when they used oranges equipped with flags to show that the pooling water at Pindimar was not pushing out to sea and was in fact being returned up stream through the western channel.”

“As it turns out, the oyster farmers were absolutely correct in their testing and the theory that resulted,” he said.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) have released a report written by Manly Hydraulics on behalf of OEH titled ‘MYALL RIVER DISCHARGE MEASUREMENTS, MARCH 2014 AND OCTOBER 2015’.

While extensive, the report contains considerable data in determining an understanding of the changes in tidal hydraulics and mixing processes at the entrance to the Myall River resulting from channel dredging in 2015.

An extract from the ‘Executive Summary of interest’ include results that post dredging, “gaugings show clearly that a larger volume of water is coming in and out the Short Cut Channel on the flood and ebb tides since the dredging took place.

This is a direct result of the increase in channel depth and width in the Short Cut Channel.

The volume of tidal water in the Short Cut Channel is approximately 3.9 times greater on the flood tide and approximately 5.2 times greater on the ebb tide post dredging.”

Gordon Grainger summed the report up by saying, “Moral of this story, don’t discount local knowledge.”

By Dave BRAZIER

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