Biofouling maintenance for the Kwilena Monitoring Buoy

Biofouling maintenance for the Kwilena Monitoring Buoy in the Swan River

Status: Current 


  • Carolyn Oldham
    Professor, Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, UWA
  • Matt Hipsey
    Associate Professor, School of Agriculture and Environment, UWA
  •  Amina Saeed 
    PhD Student, UWA


  • Damon Hortle
    Master of Professional Engineering Student

Project Description

The University of Western Australia (UWA), RiverLab and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction (DBCA) have established a new environmental monitoring buoy in the Swan River, to collect real-time meteorological and water quality data that will improve understanding of estuarine functioning and health. The Kwilena Buoy is intended for long term monitoring purposes and is located at 31°58.368’S, 115°49.846’E, in Waylen Bay at 5 m water depth. The buoy was deployed in December 2019.

Biofouling of the Kwilena Buoy is a major concern, and ongoing maintenance is required to ensure the integrity of data collected. Sensor wipers have been installed and sensors have been wrapped in copper tape wherever possible, to provide ongoing biofouling protection, however boat-based maintenance is also required.

Annual visits are required in February, to undertake removal of summer biofouling from the buoy.

Additional monthly maintenance visits are required to undertake ongoing minor maintenance. Tasks to be done during these visits include:

1. Removal of biofouling from the buoy;
2. Retrieval of surface and benthic sensors, including the YSI Exo, from the buoy;
3. On-boat cleaning and maintenance of sensors;
4. On-boat spot calibration of the sensors may also be required; and
5. Change buoy battery if required.