Darwin Harbour sustainable development precinct, marine community and habitat surveys

Client Name
Royal HaskoningDHV
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Marine science


As part the development of a large industrial precinct adjacent to Darwin Harbour, the installation of various marine infrastructure such as wharves, jetties, and a shipping channel is proposed. To inform a strategic environment assessment for the project detailed information was required to describe the benthic communities and habitats that may be impacted.

SLR were engaged to undertake detailed investigation of the benthic communities and habitats at various locations associated with the development to inform the strategic environmental assessment.


To inform the works required, our team in collaboration with Royal HaskoningDHV, developed and interpreted the outcomes of various predictive models to identify potential areas to survey and provide a preliminary assessment of the benthic habitats and communities and sediment characteristics present to inform the strategic environment assessment.

Using a combination of still and video imagery as well as the analysis of sediment samples, SLR developed an appreciation of the presence and diversity of benthic habitats and communities (BCH) at each of targeted survey locations.

Differences in the BCH present within and proximal to each location assessed were identified. Benthic communities recorded throughout the surveyed areas included a range of filter feeders, macroalgae, and hard coral taxa. Soft sediments throughout the survey areas consisted primarily of sand and gravel sized particles.

A detailed appreciation of the BCH present at each survey location was achieved and interpolated BCH distribution figures were produced from the information collected. All works were completed within the budget and schedule developed for the project.


Works associated with the development and assessment of a large industrial precinct adjacent to Darwin Harbour are ongoing. The BCH data collected, collated, and assessed as part of this project is being used to inform the ongoing development and optioneering being undertaken by the Northern Territory Government.