MAINTENANCE dredging has commenced in Bermagui Harbour.
The work was authorised by the NSW Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
It involves dredging of the harbour entrance and several selected areas within the port.
Senior Natural Resource Officer with the Department's Wollongong regional office Mr Kim Stephenson, said a Port Macquarie based private company Burdon Marine has been contracted to do the work at a cost of $270,000.
The work is expected to be completed around the end of August.
In that time an estimated 18,000 cubic metres of sand and other siltation material will be removed, he said.
This is the first major dredging operation carried out at the port since the construction of the breakwater in 1958.
Since then the entrance has become shallower due to continuing siltation.
As a result larger vessels have been experiencing difficulty when navigating the entrance and some areas of the port during low tide periods.
When dredging is complete it is anticipated the entrance will be back to its original depth of approximately 3.6 metres at a low tide. The areas within the port are expected to be a similar depth.
Clean sand dredged from the entrance area is being placed on the northern side of the entrance adjacent to the beach.
Material dredged from within the port area will be placed on selected sites between the port facilities and the Bermagui Bridge.
The dredge being used for the work was brought in by road transport from Melbourne.