**Posted for your information and discussion amongst yourselves.** Port of Melbourne Corporation Media Release. 2 September 2005 Project Update: Trial Dredge Completed at Bay Entrance. The Port of Melbourne today announced that preliminary analysis of trial dredging at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay has shown that the material at the entrance can be dredged successfully. Stephen Bradford, Port of Melbourne Corporation CEO, said that this was a key objective of the trial and it is the first time in the history of the port that is has been shown that the entrance to the bay can be deepened without using explosives. In addition, the trial demonstrated that the vessel can operate in a safe and effective manner in the strong current at the entrance, without disruption to commercial shipping. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The work at the Heads has provided us with valuable data and information that will help us refine and improve our dredging technique. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once the monitoring work is completed all the information will be used to assist in improving the proposed work methodology as part of the development of the Supplementary Environment Effects Statement,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bradford said. The trial also revealed that the approved dredging method resulted in a higher than expected amount of rock debris falling into the area commonly known as the Canyon. The canyon is part of the old course of the Yarra River located between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean with a maximum depth of up to 100 metres. The deep reef areas at 20 to 40 metres are inhabited by a range of sponges and corals amongst varying rock formations. Stephen Bradford, Port of Melbourne Corporation CEO said that this came to light late on Monday following a review by an expert marine ecologist of the specifically commissioned underwater video of the area after dredging had been completed. The performance measures for the trial set out the amount of material that could be removed at the Heads and the depths to which any stray rock debris could fall into the canyon. In particular, one of the performance measures required that rock debris did not fall past a depth of 20 metres in this area. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rock debris has been observed in localised areas at depths of approximately 30 metres,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bradford said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Independent advice from an expert marine ecologist indicates that the rock fall is in a small area within the total habitat and the port will conduct further investigations,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bradford said. The Port of Melbourne has now sought a modification of the existing diver exclusion zone around the affected area until 15 October as a precaution so that further monitoring and assessment can be carried out to determine ongoing management. This work will include: Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ monitoring the stability of the rock debris Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ observations of the deeper parts of the canyon. Ã¢â‚¬Å“An additional sweep of the area was undertaken to remove, where possible, mobile rocky material in the area away from the canyon edgeÃ¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bradford said. The independent environmental auditor for the project, the EPA and DSE, have been kept informed of developments at all times. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The port will continue to act in accordance with the limits of the Environmental Management Plan. We take the environment seriously and will take all measures to review and respond to these recent events,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bradford said. The next stage of the trial, dredging in the South Channel East, is proceeding as planned.