How Durabase was Used on Sensitive Wetlands
The environmentally sensitive mangrove wetlands required special protection due to its delicate root substructure, endangered tree frog species and the underlying acidic sulfate soil. JWA assisted this project by providing composite-bog mats for temporary access into the wetlands. Engineers used the mats as a platform to conduct geotechnical investigations and to rehabilitate invasive weed species.
Key Issues that the Wetlands Faced
Erosion was a significant concern as the machinery was likely to cause disturbance to the topsoil and any nearby flora. The ground ruts from continual use and from wheels attempting to gain traction on the unstable ground. Both exposed and buried tree roots were also a concern as disturbance could result in the vegetation unable to regrow after the investigations had taken place.
Endangered Tree Frog
The mangroves were home to the Golden Bell Frog, a ground-dwelling endangered species that is native to Australia. Digging out the vegetation would disrupt the frog’s natural habitat and cause the frog to relocate. Consequently, the groundworks would interfere with the frog’s reproduction environment and have a further impact on its survival rate and dwindling population.
Acid Sulfate Soils
There was a concern of acid sulfate soil having adverse effects by killing vegetation, acidifying hidden groundwater and degrading construction equipment to the point of failure. No imported materials could be used and once exposed to acid sulfate soil, the equipment could not be used at another site due to fear of cross-contamination.
How was it solved?
Durabase was a remedy to this problem as the thick composite matting interlocked to build an extended surface allowing the machinery to traverse the wetlands safely. The mats provided a protective layer to prevent erosion of the soil and to safeguard the tree roots. Thus, after the project had concluded, the environment could be reinstated after a short recovery period to its original condition. Additionally, the frog’s natural environment was unscathed and the underlying acid sulfate soil did not cross-contaminate the machinery and equipment.
Durabase was the most fitting solution for temporary access into the wetlands as the alternative involved clearing the topsoil from the ground to create a pathway for the geotechnical drills and other machinery. Furthermore, the mats used in the wetlands complied with strict environmental standards that were established to protect the environment. Minimal remediation was required in this project and the only action required by the employees was gathering the mats in the aftermath.
What was the result?
Eight months after project completion, the underlying plants had already started to regrow and reform new shoots. From this venture, it was clear that using temporary composite matting such as DuraBase for ecologically sensitive mangrove wetlands was of particular benefit as the terrain required extra attention to safeguard the integrity of the environment. The client's goal was achieved as the flora, fauna and equipment were protected from the possible complications.