Woodgate erosion management plan to be designed and costed

The final report has been presented to Council on Woodgate erosion mitigation.

Recommendations from a shoreline erosion study focused on Woodgate Beach, which began almost a year ago, have been presented in a final report to Bundaberg Regional Council.

Council commissioned the $70,000 Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP) undertaken by coastal environmental consultants Water Technology in March last year.

Environment and natural resources portfolio spokesman Cr Wayne Honor said the study aimed to evaluate current and historical data in relation to wave and tidal influences in the area which promoted foreshore erosion.

“Woodgate Beach has a reach of about 16 kilometres from the northern point of Theodolite Creek south to Burrum Point.

“The study identified that the shoreline most at risk over the next 20 years is located in a 700 metres stretch of beach 400 metres north and 300 metres south of the main boat ramp. The northern-most end of the Esplanade at the junction with Theodolite Creek Road is located within this threatened foreshore and is at risk of being lost to the erosion process.

“Currently it is estimated that this identified area is being eroded at the rate of 65 centimetres a year.”

Cr Honor said that during certain prevailing winds more sand is transferred off the beach than is deposited with some of the sand being retained at the entrance shoals to Theodolite Creek.

“The consultants have indicated that Council needs to base its SEMP on a 20 year planning strategy which is the maximum term recommended by the State Department of Environment and Science when determining appropriate erosion strategies.

“Mitigation strategies to address the area deemed most at risk adjacent to the boat ramp may involve the placement of some 16,000 cubic metres of sand along the 700 metre zone. This would be placed as a buffer and require future nourishment.

“This would be done in conjunction with a 240 metre long seawall which would be buried at the rear of the proposed sand replacement area and would function as a last line of defence,” said Cr Honor.

“Coastal engineers believe this strategy would provide an erosion buffer not only capable of withstanding severe erosion events, but also reinstating this section of shoreline to a position consistent with that of the mid-1980’s.

“Two further options were canvassed in the report and these included a proposal to maintain and enhance current strategies which focussed on dune protection and vegetation management or to undertake beach scraping which involved the redistribution of sand.

“The work undertaken by the consultants was reliant and reinforced to a large degree on the excellent information and project support they received from the Woodgate community,” said Cr Honor.

“Developing and implementing an evidence based plan will provide positive outcomes including preserving the character of the foreshore; maintain convenient access to the beach; maintain the long-term stability of the foreshore dunes and prserve or reinstate environmental aspects of the foreshore in at-risk areas.”

Cr Honor said Council would progress the recommendations to a design and costing stage.

“It is prudent that Council has a workable strategy in place based on the consultant’s findings and accurate costing to fully inform our budgets or grant submissions.”