Survey to gauge views on management of coastal dunes

The dune plantings at Woonona beach during a storm.

The dune plantings at Woonona beach during a storm.

A DUNE management strategy is being developed by Wollongong City Council after years of debate over appropriate plantings along the Illawarra coastline.

The strategy will build on the draft Wollongong City Council’s Coastal Zone Management Plan and aims to address issues of safety, sightlines, recreational use and biodiversity values of the beach and dune areas, particularly around the Surf Life Saving Clubs.

As part of the first phase of consultation Council has launched an online survey. The community are encouraged to fill out the survey and comment on issues they feel are relevant to the management of beaches and dunes. The survey will be live until Thursday February 28.

Council will also carry out consultation with a number of organisations and community groups including Surf Life Saving Illawarra.

Information collated through the survey and the initial consultation will contribute to the draft Dune Management Strategy, which will be put out for comment in 2013. It’s anticipated the Dune Management Strategy will be completed by mid 2013.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


2 thoughts on “Survey to gauge views on management of coastal dunes

  1. I hope this will assist you all when filling out your survey, maybe you could publish this Michael as many are ignorant of what vegetation should be found on the beaches, according to NSW Planning experts.

    ‘We have recently had some opposition in our efforts to restore our beaches despite the fact that we follow scientific instructions and advice according to the NSW PLANNING INSTRUCTIONS.
    Our opposition never seem to give any scientific backing for their well meaning advice, but we do!
    I’m sure you will agree feelings and thoughts don’t quite cut it for our powerful, complex, dynamic and ever changing coastline.
    That’s why we leave it to the experts and don’t make stuff up.
    The NSW Planning manual, “COASTAL DUNE MANAGEMENT” states where coastal vegetation should be located on the coastline and we support it.
    Whilst it shows that advanced vegetation has its place on parts of a dune, that location is in fact often hundreds of meters from the shoreline, the manual in no way shape of form shows the complete beach covered in plants to the shoreline.
    Why do we have vegetation at the waterline along our shorelines when there should be no plants here at all, according to the manual?
    Why do we think we can create a complete dune system on our beaches when the manual says there is not enough room on our beaches for complete dunes?
    The manual clearly shows diagrams and lists the species for each zone of a dune system.
    There is no vegetation shown on the beach areas near the water anywhere in the manual, yet many people think vegetation should be there.
    It will be interesting if the y continue this train of thought after reading what the experts say!
    Why do we have Coastal Wattle, Banksias etc on beaches when the manual says only some grasses are to be there and even these are to be mainly landward of the high tide storm line which is at the back of the beach?
    The manual states that the beach should be left wide and free of introduced plants, all the way to the high water levels especially during storms so natural coastal processes can occur.
    Why do we have plants within this area when we are told not to?
    This information was gathered and used for our “DUNE MANAGEMENT “ for a reason!
    Why are we disregarding hundreds of hours of coastal expert’s hard work contained in the Coastal Dune Management Manual, and throwing it out the window?
    What is the name of the new conservation group that disregards the NSW Planning expert’s instructions in the manual? Do they have a name, a website, an email address or even facebook site?
    Do they have any government-­‐authorized publications that say vegetation should be introduced totally covering beaches to the shoreline?
    Studies show that eventually beach vegetation won’t protect assets from sea level rise anyway.
    It may in fact assist erosion as it causes shoreline waves to be stronger and according to the manual can cause unintended erosion. I have never heard them say this or admit to any negative aspect of introduced beach vegetation.
    Beach vegetation to control erosion is largely unnecessary anyway as sea level rise has only caused shorelines to push landward on beaches less than the length of an adults foot!
    If we have huge storms sand will disappear from beaches and return as it has always done, and history has shown that we only get these storms very, very, very infrequently.
    You will notice there has been, no recent erosion problems, on un-­‐vegetated beaches.
    I know what your thinking, they are protected, but there are many un-­‐vegetated beaches that face directly into swell directions, they were just designed to cope with large swells just like vegetated beaches are.
    Popularity not erosion threat is the main reason they remain un-­‐vegetated but still survive.
    There is, at present, no real major threat, which necessitates total coverage of our beaches with plants, as there is at present no real major sea level rise according to the C.S.I.R.O.
    Will a switch go on which means storms every week and coastal inundation as the norm.
    They said that for 2010. Hello?
    The act of totally covering beaches with plants is overkill and unnecessary and the wrong thing anyway, chosen as its cheap? Do you buy cheap products that don’t work?
    How impractical is it, to destroy our beaches with a protection method that doesn’t allow dune build up in the correct places that will get washed away anyway?
    If sea level rise is such a threat why aren’t more sustainable methods being put in place that doesn’t destroy the amenities and assets, we are trying to protect?
    It is crystal clear that we are ignoring the experts by vegetating beaches too close to the shoreline unnecessarily and there are dangerous consequences for doing so.
    Why is there even a discussion on this subject?
    Vegetation does not belong on beaches from the shoreline to the back-­‐beach according to the experts, full stop!!! Any vegetation on the beaches should be away from the intertidal zone at the very back of the beach.
    Time has proven that plants on beaches form shoreline dunes where they won’t protect assets, destroy beaches, make them unsafe and will wash away!
    We have the instructions on what to do from NSW PLANNING’S, “COASTAL DUNE MANAGEMENT”!
    Why don’t we just do what it says to do?
    Listed are some of the negative results of introduced vegetation on beaches that is contrary to the instructions local governments are supposed to be following.
    Introduced vegetation in the wrong places is responsible for the following because:
    1. It forms rips, deep gutters and dangerous swimming conditions by removing shallow sand banks from inshore areas.
    2. It forms steep 2-­‐6m dangerous sand-­‐cliffs that can collapse on people.
    3. It turns beaches into reflective beaches removing sand away from near-­‐shore areas and slows down or prohibits beach recovery after storms.
    4. It destroys beach amenity by narrowing beaches and covering dry sand with impenetrable plants.
    5. It causes line of sight problems for lifeguard and lifesaver services.
    6. It houses bitou bush and vermin that were never on beaches before it’s introduction.
    7. It causes unintended erosion in other places on the coast that will increase if we do get further sea level rise, negating its purpose as an erosion management option.
    8. It causes beach closures due to lack of sand in the offshore swimming areas. (City Beach December 2012)
    9. It robs the community of open spaces.
    10. It provides very little shade and is impossible to maintain.
    11. Forms unstable dangerous shoreline dunes that will be washed away rather than back beach dunes, which are more stable according to the manual.
    12. It is a fire hazard.
    13. Beach access ways and creek and river estuaries require more maintenance work.
    Wave power, during storms, is more concentrated and races into these areas due to a funneling effect between vegetated shoreline dunes.
    Extra fencing is has been built along beach access ways. These fences are left hanging in mid air or washed away totally when the waves run up the access ways eroding sand.
    14. Unwary beach walkers can become trapped at high tide between sand-­‐cliffs and high tide waves with the risk of swept into the ocean.
    15. It causes 2-­‐6m. sand-­‐cliffs along the shoreline, Beach-­‐users can be buried if these collapse.
    16. It prevents sand being blown beyond the back of the beach to form stable dunes which is evident when you see low sand levels here instead of higher sand levels.
    The vegetation is supposed to form dunes here but the wrong plants (coastal wattle) which are too tall and spread too fast, stop sand blowing here.
    The manual states sand should get trapped in vegetation (at the back of the beach) to form stable dunes.
    Shoreline dunes formed by shoreline vegetation are unstable and are not advised in the manual. Why do people want what the manual says is wrong?
    We should now encourage Council do it’s job, which is to fix and manage the beaches by following the expert’s instructions in the Coastal Dune Management Manual.
    Michael Zaracostas.


    Posted by Michael | January 10, 2013, 9:03 pm
  2. This will be interesting to see..


    Posted by wazza180 | January 11, 2013, 10:12 am

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