pania reef and seafloor ecology

We already have a lot of information about the local seabed and its ecology but this project will see much more information collected.

Cawthorn Institute is preparing a report on the potential ecological effects of the development.  This work includes:

Cawthorn is working closely with Napier Port and Worley Parsons to understand the impact of dredging on the ecology and how it can be effectively managed.

Napier Port has a number of permanent monitoring buoys anchored along the shipping channel to guide its daily operations. However, a number of additional temporary buoys have been gathering information for the project including tides, wave heights, currents, the turbidity (water clarity) of the water and even under-water noise.

Initial work has shown that Pania Reef experiences a certain level of natural turbidity (cloudiness from suspended sediments in the water) through large seas and from sediment from the local rivers. The marine life currently copes with that turbidity. The work Napier Port is doing will ensure that any turbidity created by dredging will not threaten the existing ecology of the reef.

*Benthic: (Oxford Dictionary) NOUN - The flora and fauna found on the bottom, or in the bottom sediments, of a sea or lake.

Figure _30_mobile _fauna

The image above is a sample of the typical sea life seen on Pania Reef.  

Cawthron Benthic Dive Sites

The 3D image above shows where dive surveys were carried out on Pania Reef to collect samples and take photographs. 

PR2_Fig

Depth _profile _PR4

The images above show photographs taken on dive surveys, where and at what depth they were taken. It should be noted that these images have been digitally enhanced for report purposes. Attribution: Cawthron.

Pania Reef Multi -Beam (1)

Pania Reef Multi -Beam (2)

Pania Reef Multi -Beam (3)

For the first time ever we can see the shape of Pania Reef in detail after Napier Port commissioned a multi-beam survey (above) of the underwater formations that make up the 3.5 kilometre reef.

Many of the studies and surveys carried out through the development of the wharf proposal have never been done before by any Hawke’s Bay organisation. Not only will this new information help us identify and manage any potential issues related to the project, they will be a major leap forward in how we understand our local marine environment in a broader sense. Napier Port is keen to share the data discovered through this process to benefit our community and manage our marine environment more effectively.