Scientific Research and Management Strategy

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) established a Scientific Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC) to provide technical advice related to the management of Gold Coast waterways. The Gold Coast Waterways Scientific Research and Management Strategy (SRMS) aims to identify scientific investment priorities for achieving strategic objectives under the Gold Coast Waterways Management Strategy (2014-2023), and relevant projects that may be funded through the GCWA’s four year Waterways Management Program.

This scope includes improving adaptive management of environmental issues related to the long term maintenance of navigational access, including boat ramps, channels, anchorages and foreshores. An allied, but also independently critical goal is continuous improvement of the conceptual and applied understanding of Seaway evolution, including both natural and anthropogenic influences on hydrodynamic and morphological processes. This encompasses dredging and long term operation of the Sand Bypass System and recognises the significant value of the Seaway, in terms of both monies expended and the present and future contribution to the Gold Coast economy.

Science and Innovation Advisory Committee

The role of GCWA’s Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC) is to provide strategic advice related to scientific, technical and innovation directions for GCWA and provide oversight to the implementation of programs under the Environmental Management Framework for managing sand resources in Gold Coast waterways and other matters related to the management of Gold Coast waterways. The 2019-20 Committee members are:

  • Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes, Griffith University
  • Professor Rod Connolly, Griffith University
  • Dr Mark Gibbs, QUT Associate Professor
  • Associate Professor Kylie Pitt, Griffith University
  • Dr Mike Raybould, Bond University
  • Professor Rodger Tomlinson
  • Ms Kathy Baker, City of Gold Coast, Manager Service Sustainability at Gold Coast Water.

Chaired by a GCWA Board member: 

  • Ms Leslie Shirreffs (Chair)

Members bring expertise across the fields of coastal management, marine ecology, planning, climate adaptation, environmental economics, tourism and natural resource management. The SIAC will be reviewed at least every 2 years to ensure that the relevant skills, expertise and experience are available to provide meaningful direction relevant to the issues being considered by GCWA and the Board.

The Strategic Research and Management Program

The Scientific Research and Management Program (SRMP) is the program of works delivered by GCWA that have been endorsed by the SIAC. Projects administered through the SRMP align to the four research and management streams of the SRMS:

Stream 1: Physical Processes, including bathymetry, hydrodynamics and morphology

Stream 2: Ecosystems, including flora, fauna, habitats and ecological values

Stream 3: Water and Sediment Quality, including dredge plumes, sediment chemistry, vessel based marine pollution, stormwater quality management and similar issues

Stream 4: Society, including recreation, tourism, resilience, behaviour, economy and waterways management

Resilience Planning

In recent years, severe flooding and water supply issues have again placed the spotlight on the management of waterways in the region. A critical challenge to urban communities is its design for resilience to the impact of weather events, climate change and population growth, particularly in regards to sustainable management of water resources and the protection of water environments.

GCWA recognises that the existing values the community places on Gold Coast waterways will be challenged in the future through population growth, a changing climate and other pressures. This acknowledgement led to the development of GCWA’s draft Resilience Plan.

The GCWA was proud to lead the first-ever conversation with the people of the Gold Coast on the long-term future of our waterways ‘Gold Coast Waterways 2017 and Beyond’ was held on the 22nd May 2017 and hosted close to 200 participants from industry, academia, community and business.

In the lead up to our resilience symposium, our keynote speaker Susanne M. Torriente, City of Miami Beach Government Chief Resilience Officer chatted with ABC Gold Coast about what the Gold Coast can learn from the Miami experience.

Outcomes from the day will assist in sculpting the Resilience Plan which is expected to go out for public consultation later in 2017.

Gold Coast Waterways 2017 & Beyond speakers


Last updated: 11 December 2017