Land and

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Ecology and Impact Assessment

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Environmental Risk Assessment

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and Ports

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Land and water management

We have undertaken a number of geomorphological and landscape processes assessments, including catchment health assessments, sediment budgeting and sourcing studies, environmental flows assessments, river diversion designs for major civil infrastructure projects, waterway rehabilitation projects, sediment control and management assessments, Acoustic Dopplet Current Profiler (ADCP) studies, and coastal management studies.  These studies have involved the use of the latest technological advances, including Doppler technologies, drone and Lidar comparisons, stochastic sediment transport modelling, and GIS-based 3D and spatial analysis.

Our key clients include the resource and development industry, Local and State Government, and as specialist advisors to major engineering consultants.
Fluvial geomorphology and landscape processes

An understanding of the past, present and potential future changes to the geomorphological characteristics and processes of waterways and their catchments is essential for undertaking any catchment/waterway health assessment. The geomorphology provides the basis for habitat, and any changes to the morphology will directly impact the organisms that live within that habitat. Hydrobiology has a team of geomorphologists that are PhD educated that have between 15 and 35 years of experience. They use this experience to provide geomorphological input to most studies that Hydrobiology undertakes, including catchment health studies, natural channel design, sediment budgeting and sourcing, diversion designs, aquatic ecology assessments, and impact assessments.

Catchment and waterway health, sediment budgets and sediment sourcing studies

Hydrobiology undertakes catchment management and waterway health projects, ranging from specific issue-based assessments to broad catchment-scale studies. We have experience working in urban streams and both rural coastal and inland catchments. Hydrobiology offers experience in catchment management planning and waterway health assessments based on the assessment of water quality, sediment quality macroinvertebrates, fish, in-stream/riparian habitat condition, and morphological attributes. Our experience includes a range of clients, including local, State and Federal governments, mining companies and regulators, oil and gas operators and regulators, infrastructure development. Our clients include those in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Read more on Catchment and Waterway Health.

Erosion and sediment management

Issues of erosion and sediment management are important for a wide variety of projects including erosion and sediment management at a site scale (e.g. construction and operations EMPs for mine sites and infrastructure developments, instream sand & gravel extractions), at a river reach or subcatchment scale (e.g. longer term management of sediment fluxes), and at a basin scale (e.g. understanding the “source to sink” erosion & sediment transport process). Hydrobiology undertakes investigations and provides advice on matters relating to erosion and sediment budgets at a catchment scale, riverine sediment transport and deposition, erosion and sediment management and sediment sourcing, all using industry leading field techniques and the latest modelling technologies (e.g. Monte Carlo, HEC, drones, field sampling).

Read more on Erosion and Sediment Management.

River restoration and natural channel design

Hydrobiology has a skilled team that has extensive experience in natural channel design and waterway health enhancement from feasibility, concept and detailed design and construction supervision.  Hydrobiology brings experience, innovation, clear thinking, scientific expertise, and written documentation to this project.  Hydrobiology maintains a strong working relationship with several engineering consultants to ensure we offer leading geomorphology-engineering solutions to our clients.  These relationships are based on the fact that we can cover all aspects of the water cycle and are able to offer our clients environmentally sustainable engineering solutions.  Projects include the authoring and/or reviewing of natural channel design guidelines, major diversions of rivers and streams for mining clients, river bank stabilisation, bridge and levee protection, waterway naturalisation, scour protection and river training.  These projects have been based in a range of climatological and hydrological regions and morphological environments, so our team is experienced in adjusting assessment techniques to different systems.

Environmental flows and environmental hydraulics

The sustainable management and allocation of water, including the delivery of environmental flow objectives (EFOs), and ensuring flow hydraulics remain at acceptable levels is vital in the management of the ecological and physical health of waterways.  Hydrobiology has undertaken environmental flows assessments for a number of Queensland Water Resource Plans (e.g. Baffle Basin, Gulf and Mitchell, Calliope River, Whitsunday Rivers), local councils (e.g. Hinze Dam Assessment for City of Gold Coast), and Dam Impact Assessments (e.g. Hinze Dam, Traveston Crossing Dam, Connors River Dam, Nathan Dam, Awoonga).  These environmental flows projects all generally aim to identify key features which respond to flows and can be used to determine environmental flow requirements through modelling of flow scenarios.  Flow hydraulics assessments form the basis of the environmental flows assessments, but are also undertaken as part of most other projects undertaken by our Land and Water Management team.

Diversion design and management

Our key clients include the mining industry and Local and State Government, and as specialist advisors to major engineering consultants. We have been involved in a number of diversion designs for major civil infrastructure projects.  These have included providing specialist geomorphology, environmental hydrology, and aquatic and riparian habitat input into the concept, functional, and final designs for projects in Queensland, Western Australia, Oceania, South America, South-East Asia, Indian Subcontinent, and Africa.  All our core team have PhDs and have authored and/or reviewed industry- and government-accepted waterway design guidelines. All our works are underpinned by use of the latest technologies while adhering to the latest guidelines.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler studies (ADCP)

ADCP methods use changes in the speed and frequency (doppler shift) of sound as it passes through the water column to measure a range of useful parameters for marine, estuarine and river flow studies.  These include ocean / estuarine current direction and speed, river flow (discharge), marine and river suspended sediment (sediment transport), wave heights and direction, and water column stratification.  Hydrobiology has ADCP instruments that it can deploy in bottom mounted (sea floor) or boat mounted (GPS tracked spatial mapping survey) configurations.  We use these ADCPs for port development assessments, marine monitoring, aquaculture projects, monitoring desalinisation discharges, monitoring and modelling river hydrology and sediment transport, wave assessments, and pollutant transport studies.

Read more about the capability focus on ADCP.

Sebuku cagar alam

Ecology and Impact Assessment

We have undertaken field surveys in cloudforest, rainforest, nearshore and deep sea, coral reef monitoring and impact assessments that have involved risk assessment, biomonitoring of metals, and rare species investigations.

Our key clients include mining companies, water management and natural resource management authorities, ports and harbour authorities.
Environmental Impact Assessment

We regularly work on large-scale environmental impact assessments for greenfield projects or expansions in partnership with major engineering consultants. We also lead impact assessments at a range of local, national and international levels.

Assessment of Biological and Ecological Processes

Answering client questions, troubleshooting issues or addressing regulatory conditions often requires a detailed understanding of the complex ecological processes associated with, or influenced by a facility or activity. We employ cutting edge practices in house and keep abreast of scientific advances through regular conference presentation and attendance. We also work with a network of well-regarded colleagues to ensure our clients get access to the best advice.

Freshwater and Marine Monitoring and Baseline Surveys

Our company has a long track record of designing and successfully delivering complex freshwater and marine surveys in very remote and difficult terrain. From dense forests supported only by helicopters or local dugout canoes, to deep sea trenches with ROVs, we have the experience and safety record sought by many top tier companies.

Hydroacoustic Studies

We have pioneered the use of hydroacoustics and other remotely sensed techniques to detect and enumerate rare and threatened species without the need for often damaging net and trap sampling.

Read more on Hydroacoustic: Fish abundance, seagrass and macro-algae mapping.

Environmental Management

Working with clients and engineering colleagues, we develop boutique management and mitigation options to minimise potential environmental harm.

Borroloola consultation

Environmental Risk Assessment

We have undertaken risk assessment for resource projects in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, Africa and South America that have involved assessments of environmental risk associated with many forms of development, such as metalliferous and non-metalliferous impact, hydropower and habitat disturbance, and are leaders in developing ecotoxicological monitoring protocols for waste water treatment plants in Queensland.

This has included development of new toxicity testing procedures when required.

Our key clients include risk managers, mining companies, Local and State Government, ports and harbour authorities, and research collaborators.
Era and Environmental Risk Management
Ecotoxicological Investigations

Hydrobiology have developed many ecotoxicological programs to assess the potential toxicity of a range of contaminants from specific compounds to whole effluents for a range of different clients. Discharge trigger values and safe dilutions derived from these programs guide our clients to develop their projects in a way that will cause minimal disturbance to the receiving environment.

Read more on Ecotoxicology.

Impact Assessment

By assessing the potential or actual ecotoxicological impacts from our clients activities we can help guide them to develop protocols and processes that can reduce their footprint on the receiving environment and better manage their future rehabilitation requirements.

Desalination Studies

Hydrobiology have been involved with most of the large-scale seawater desalination plant developments in Australia. We have investigated the potential effects of the brine discharge from the plants through desktop studies and the development of safe dilutions through ecotoxicological studies.

Read our Capability Focus: Desalination Ecotox.

Coal Seam Gas Water Management

Understanding the potential environmental impacts and developing appropriate management strategies for coal seam gas (CSG) water on receiving surface ecosystems is proving to be a challenge in this rapidly-developing industry.

Read more on Coal Seam Gas Water Management.

Fraccing Fluid Toxicity

Hydrobiology have worked with the Australian Coal Seam Gas industry to assess the toxicity of whole fracturing fluids, both before and after injection.

Research and Development

Hydrobiology have been instrumental in the development of ecotoxiciology techniques for the assessment of various chemicals and discharges using a range of freshwater and marine species.

Hydrobiology Geochemistry

Environmental Geochemistry

We have undertaken aqueous geochemical studies in the marine and freshwater environments of Australia as well as across the Asia Pacific region, Africa and South America. Hydrobiology are leaders in the development and application of targeted studies of geochemical processes, water quality characteristics and appropriate risk mitigation measures. These include mining (baseline, closure, pit lakes, acid drainage, discharges), industry (storm water, mixing zones), municipal (wastewater discharges, wetland issues) and ports (dredging, operations).

Hydrobiology provides services in aqueous environmental geochemistry for baseline, investigative, operational and project closure requirements. Environmental geochemistry is the study of the chemical, physical and biological processes that control water and sediment quality. There are strong links with our ecotoxicology expertise allowing for an integrated assessment of the controls and impacts on environmental values. Hydrobiology often provides specialist technical assessors and advisors for projects with specific water and sediment quality issues.

We have undertaken aqueous geochemical studies in the marine and freshwater environments of Australia, extensively in the Asia Pacific region as well as Africa and South America. These studies have involved a wide range of geochemical issues including:

  • assessments of the interaction of mine derived acid rock drainage with natural receiving waters
  • spatial distribution of sediment contaminants
  • municipal treated wastewater discharge characterisation
  • geochemical speciation modelling of process water discharge to seawater
  • oceanographic/limnological geochemical process studies
Our key clients include mining and natural gas companies, Coasts and Ports Authorities, Local and State Government, utilities and infrastructure developers.
Mine Site Drainage Quality Assessments

One of the key areas that sets Hydrobiology apart is our extensive experience in conducting international “best practice” studies in remote areas with difficult logistics. Hydrobiology has developed field planning and support systems to facilitate working in remote Australia and developing nations across the globe. We have operated for major mining clients in Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands and Surinam.

Hydrobiology offers a range of complimentary technical skills in data collection, impact and risk assessment for mining clients. We are leaders in the development of water quality guidelines for operational and closure targets. Collection of high quality samples with exacting quality control is key to obtaining a realistic picture of the risks associated with mine drainage. This is then utilised by our ecotoxicology team to conduct a risk assessment and provide recommendations for management.

Read more about Mining – Monitoring and Impact Assessment.

Mine Void (Pit Lake) Geochemistry

Hydrobiology can bring together its range of expertise and experience in the aquatic sciences to provide multiple lines of investigation into the present condition and processes occurring in mine pit lakes. Mine pit lake waters can be highly variable in quality from the surface to bottom waters. Due to the physical structure of the typical mine pit lake, they often have multiple layers (stratification) of differing water quality based on density differences. Each layer can have its own suite of contaminants of concern and highly variable concentrations. Knowing the physical, biological and chemical structure of your pit lake water column is a key step in identifying remediation and management options.

We can team with hydrology/hydrogeology modellers to add assessment of water quality changes over time post closure through geochemical speciation modelling.

Read Mine Void Geochemistry.

Marine and Freshwater Aqueous Geochemical Studies

Hydrobiology has developed in-house methods for ultra-trace metals sampling in the low parts per trillion range in fresh and marine waters. This is achieved through using clean materials and techniques suitable for comparison of data to stringent environmental protection criteria.

Senior staff members are regularly asked to present at industry conferences and lead workshops for environmental management professionals in the area of monitoring and impact assessment.

Sediment-Water Interface Processes

Sampling of small scale gradients in toxicant concentrations across the sediment-water interface can be used to estimate transfer rates to/from the overlying waters. Our geochemical team can apply advanced sampling and laboratory analysis techniques to assess the speciation (form) of chemicals in sediments and their potential for release to ecosystems. In addition, the use of biological indicators and tissue toxicant concentrations provides a rigorous line of evidence to assess risks associated with contaminated sediments and biological uptake.

Environmental Chemistry

Hydrobiology has expertise and experience in investigative techniques for environmental geochemistry. These include advanced sampling and analysis techniques developed in partnership with various laboratory service providers for specific projects.

Hydrobiology has applied geochemical sampling techniques to a range of aquatic environments from marine to rivers, lakes and wetlands. We have studied some of Australia’s and southeast Asia’s most important lacustrine systems including the Malili Lakes (Indonesia), Lake Buluan (Philippines) and lakes Murray, Kutubu and Lelua in PNG. This experience has complimented our mine pit lake expertise and studies of Australian reservoirs.

Hydrobiology has developed in-house methods for ultra-trace metals sampling in the low parts per trillion range in fresh and marine waters. This is achieved through using clean materials and techniques suitable for comparison of data to stringent environmental protection criteria.

Read more about Environmental Chemistry.

Acid Rock Drainage / Acid-Sulphate Sediment Investigations

Hydrobiology can conduct acid drainage and acid sulphate soils (ASS) investigations for assessment of risk and management planning. This includes following established protocols and guidance from various state and federal (Australian) regulatory authoritories.

Hydrobiology Coasts and Ports

Coasts and Ports

Our Coasts and Ports group combines the skills and experience of the Hydrobiology team and focuses its capabilities on the marine sector. Dredging assessments to NAGD, ECP. GBRMPA, PIANC and/or OSPAR. Benthic marine habitat mapping, water and sediment quality monitoring, biomonitoring, invasive marine species (IMS), current/logger deployments, hydroacoustic fish surveys, sonar (side-scan and down beam) surveys and impact assessment/approval studies.

Hydrobiology provides a range of technical services critical to baseline, impact and environmental risk assessments to assist port developers, port authorities, coastal industries and local councils. Our team offers skills and experience in marine ecology, water and sediment chemistry, ecotoxicology and coastal geomorphology.

We have extensive experience in monitoring the physical marine environment (sediment / water quality, physical oceanographic) and ecosystem components (e.g. macrobenthos, fish, seagrass, coral and mangrove communities) as part of baseline studies, compliance monitoring and impact assessment. Hydrobiology offers sector-specific technical skills in estuarine and marine flora and fauna ecology, hydroacoustics (fish biomass monitoring), water and sediment quality monitoring, biomonitoring, ecotoxicology and developing and implementing risk assessment frameworks.

Our key clients include Coasts and Ports Authorities, port developers (e.g. mining companies), Local and State Government, utilities discharging to seawater and coastal infrastructure developers.
Dredging Studies

Hydrobiology can provide capital and maintenance dredging impact assessment and baseline studies for approvals to Australian and international standards. This includes assessments to NAGD, ECP. GBRMPA, PIANC, USEPA and/or OSPAR. In addition to baseline and approvals related studies, Hydrobiology can stay with the project through the implementation and post-impact monitoring phases through its field sampling, multi-spectral imagery analysis and advanced statistical testing capabilities.

Port Operational Monitoring

Hydrobiology offers services in compliance monitoring, baseline data collection, monitoring program review and design and, data management. This includes water quality sampling to ultra-trace metal levels, sediment sampling (grab/piston/vibracore/diver), in-house oceanographic quality profiling sondes, logger deployment and maintenance, towed/drop/ROV/diver underwater video, biomonitoring buoy deployment, imposex surveys, IMS surveys, current and tide measurements (ADCP), mangrove (NDVI analysis) and a full suite of biological sampling methods.

Coastal Discharges

Our ecotoxicology team combine with the environmental geochemistry team to assess discharges of all natures including RO brines, solar evaporation pond brines, process plant effluents, dewatering (e.g. mine pits) discharges, slurry dewatering etc. Hydrobiology has worked extensively in the field of municipal treated wastewater discharge impact assessment and options assessments for upgrades and process changes.

Coastal Infrastructure

Hydrobiology can conduct coastal geomorphic studies, water and sediment quality impact assessments and biological surveys for coastal infrastructure projects including marinas, port construction, pipeline crossings, groins and boat ramps. We have also assessed the effectiveness and location requirements of shark barriers in Western Australia.