DREDGING of the Carnarvon Fascine in Western Australia has restored navigation for commercial and recreational vessels in the area, the state government said.

The Western Australian government announced a $3 million one-off dredging campaign for the waterway earlier this year after technical studies confirmed the built options to improve vessel access were not viable long-term solutions.

As part of the $7 million multifaceted Carnarvon Fascine Entryway and Boat Harbour Pen Project, short-term measures to improve access were implemented while technical studies were undertaken to determine a sustainable long-term remedy to silting at the mouth of the waterway.

A two-year investigation to identify permanent ocean access options involved extensive research and studies, the state government said.

Several major capital reconfigurations were considered by a group of experts in the field and confirmed there was no financially viable long-term solution.

In April the Department of Transport fast tracked and expanded its planned dredging of the boat harbour and Teggs Channel to include work at the Fascine entry and further stabilisation of the sand spit that breached in 2017 to limit the need for future works.

More than 120,000 cubic metres of material has been removed and reclaimed on the sand spit to date as part of the project.

WA minister assisting the transport minister David Michael said the result was timely for local mariners and those visiting the Gascoyne region over the summer months.

“The decision to add to the planned dredging at Carnarvon was vital in delivering safe navigation now and also allowed for the efficient use of public resources with no duplication of cost to remobilise the dredge at a later date,” he said.

“Since 2020 the entryway project has delivered many benefits with the addition of 16 new floating boat pens at Carnarvon Boat Harbour and improvements to the boat launching ramp which have provided greater flexibility to skippers regularly navigating the Fascine.

“The work to improve access to the Fascine has resulted from close collaboration between DoT, the Shire of Carnarvon, Gascoyne Development Commission and Carnarvon Yacht Club.”

Dredging work continues in January with navigation aids and revegetation treatments anticipated to be complete by April 2024.