THROUGH new real time water quality monitoring equipment, the Port of Townsville is now able to offer data on Cleveland Bay. The monitors measure water quality, temperature, conductivity (saltiness of water) and turbidity approximately one metre below the water surface.

The Port of Townsville has undertaken long-term water quality monitoring programs in Cleveland Bay for more than 15 years and sharing it with the community and researchers but this program enables everyone to access the latest information about the Bay in real time.

Port of Townsville general manager infrastructure and environment Marissa Wise said the monitoring buoys, which use the latest in technical advancements, gave a nod to history.

“The monitor Beagle, located at Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island was named by the Port of Townsville’s Community Liaison Group to reflect regional and port history.

“HMS BEAGLE was a survey ship that surveyed these waters in 1841 on its first voyage, on the second voyage of the vessel the naturalist Charles Darwin was aboard, and this was his trip of discovery,” Ms Wise said.

The second monitor is attached to a channel marker in Cleveland Bay.  

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Each underwater probe has a mechanical wiper to prevent biofouling of the sensors. Raw data from the sensors is collected every 15 minutes and transmitted by mobile network to a data server. Data is then averaged over the hour and made available on the website.

“It is part of Townsville Port’s commitment to continue our long-term approach to monitoring in Cleveland Bay and make this data available publicly to allow a much greater understanding of how Cleveland Bay marine system operates,” Ms Wise said.

The monitoring network is the most advanced and extensive marine equipment to be installed by Port of Townsville. The equipment, locations and dashboards, were co-developed with the Community Liaison Group, with representatives from GBRMPA, Aquascene, Townsville local residents, Magnetic Island Residents and Ratepayers Association, Regional Development Australia, SES, Rotary, and Association of Marine Tourism Operators.

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