Sand heads towards Byron Bay Main Beach after significant erosion

Emma Rennie
Swellnet Dispatch

Byron Shire Council is hopeful that the worst of the erosion in Byron Bay is over, with satellite imagery showing sand is gradually moving back towards Main Beach.

Images from recent months shows a slug of sand has moved around The Pass and is sitting in the water at Clarkes Beach.

This aerial image from June shows the build-up of sand near The Pass and Clarkes Beach

Biodiversity and sustainability coordinator Chloe Dowsett said she was hopeful that it was a sign the situation was changing.

"It's actually been quite slow," she said. "We've been tracking it for quite a while now, but it has in-filled over some of the offshore and onshore eroded areas."

But Ms Dowsett said a lot more sand would be needed to return the beach to its former glory.

Storm season looms

Tom Murray from the Coastal and Marine Research Centre at Griffith University said the beach is in a better position now than it was twelve months ago, but the changes were not visible from shore.

"A lot of the sand that's creating a buffer for expected storms this summer is below the low tide mark, so when people go for a walk on the beach, you're not seeing a lot of the actual sand buffer that is in the bay at the moment," he said.

Dr Murray said the upcoming storm season might cause more erosion, but the newly arrived sand would help protect the beach. "The BOM is forecasting a very likely chance of La Nina this summer, which generally is conducive to higher energy waves and more erosion," he said. "However, we did have a La Nina this past summer and it wasn't incredibly stormy, so it's really quite hard to predict."

Erosion has been happening in Byron Bay for several years, but a storm in late 2020 caused significant damage (AAP: Dan Peled)

Ms Dowsett said the main beach and the dunes would still need significant intervention to recover more quickly. Byron Shire Council has applied to the state government to help fund the work, which would include beach scraping and dune revegetation.

Long-term concern

The erosion happened over the course of several years, with natural processes and sand movements explaining much of it. One of the most significant erosion events for Byron Bay happened in December 2020 when a combination of large tides, heavy rain, and big surf swept away large swathes of sand during a storm. Ms Dowsett said that event was unprecedented but not unexpected.

"We do know and we have known for years that this area of the bay is undergoing long-term shoreline recession as well," she said.

Byron Shire Council is working with stakeholders to develop a Coastal Management Program, which Ms Dowsett said would play a crucial role in managing erosion and the health of the beach ecosystem.

// EMMA RENNIE
© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Comments

Lachie brown's picture
Lachie brown's picture
Lachie brown Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 11:22am

Reviting stuff

benwaa's picture
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benwaa Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 6:50pm

...perhaps check your spelling - seems it's a thing of the past.

Yudonomi's picture
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Yudonomi Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 11:45am

Good read! Really insightful, especially to the council observations. The significant erosion has been sitting in that state for almost a year. I would’ve thought more would have been done earlier.
Further to this, whatever happened to the smaller scale dune care (ie- people keeping off the dunes to enable the dune grasses to thrive)? Everyone just seems to trample them around the Byron area.

el Sid's picture
el Sid's picture
el Sid Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 4:40pm

Byron does not suffer alone from lack of respect by the herds in trampling the dunes.
Up here at Peregian Beach, the concept of Respect the Beach, the Dunes are fragile, that support grass systems, native birds and turtle nests are lost on the masses and most dumb arse surfers, predominately they don't live at the beach and just tramp on in for their fix and bugger off. Population increases continue to exasperate the problem, education doesn't seem to work, sadly just fences.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 2:44pm

It's those infernal sup riding yoga enthusiasts sup-yogaring on the sand-dunes. They're to blame. There was a major infestation when I was last up there. Forget the drum-lines for the sharks, the council should get management plan in place for the sup-yogarers. I would recommend a full elimination strategy.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 3:00pm

how's that bank?

benwaa's picture
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benwaa Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 6:52pm

.. the bank isn't that good.. everyone should stay in their LGA until Xmas.. 2022.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:15am

Haha! Nice try. The hwy goes both directions champ

Gowsa's picture
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Gowsa Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 3:15pm

Its the 5G thats causing it

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 3:28pm

Meanwhile I’m simultaneously stoked and disgusted when the coppers log and wire fence erected at Xxx Xxxx by self empowered beach Nazis, which haphazardly segregated the beach in their arbitrary defence of naturally impermanent sand dunes , has now washed away and been relocated as an arsenic soaked Beaver’s dam of detritus shit a bit further up the bay.

A perfect monument to their hubristic urge to claim a static moment amongst aeons of coastal flux as the only acceptable aesthetic, a physical manifestation of their unnatural desire to bend the world to their whims.

The planet isn’t a museum you put behind a wire fence you clowns , so go clean your poisonous shit off the beach and faaaaarrrk orrffff.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 3:41pm

The problem is that people have built their shit too close to the beach. That and Sup-Yoga scum.

Finnbob the terror's picture
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Finnbob the terror Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 6:02pm

Noticed some of those shit sandbags on the beach in the photo that they are using at Portsea front beach, a good way to fuck a beach completely.

san Guine's picture
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san Guine Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:51am

Yeah Finnbob,
Since the Heads got dredged so much more erosion and sand movement inside the bay. Also check out the 1/2 wave breaking left in towards the Portsea pier.

MPGardens's picture
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MPGardens Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 10:01pm

Psssstt….
Let’s keep that wave on the down low…..

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
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Thegrowingtrend.com Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 6:08pm

All the yoga enthusiasts not washing theirs feet after a Sesh with the crystals.
5g the lot.

wally's picture
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wally Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 7:31pm

Just another day at Byron Bay.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 8:57pm

haha , photos like that will continue to keep me away from the place . Just hope they meditated for an hour and didn't eat too much tofu for brekky. I'm getting a cramp just looking at that. My warm up routine is quite different . I stretch getting into my wetty and do one squat to put my leggy on.

Cacadajy's picture
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Cacadajy Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 7:03am

Yep the one stretch one squat warm up is my go to. Occasionally I throw in a push up after I trip on my leggie and face plant spread eagled.

Bustard's picture
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Bustard Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 6:17am

classic...My last trip to the pass was interesting....after seeing 60 - 70 - 80 heads in the water with a nice 2-3 ft peeling I chose to just push the young fella on to a couple of insiders...but as I watched i only saw maybe 5 people getting all the waves.. paddled out and got heaps of fun runners. Not sure what the other 75 were doing

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 7:33pm

If it's got marram grass on it, it is already a completely artificial landscape which has sucked too much offshore sand up into a steep foredune ripe for erosion, and trashed the much better prior sandbanks.

https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-analysis/2015/10/07/damned-marram...

morg's picture
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morg Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:35am

That’s what’s happened at Nobbys Beach NSW. The Dunecare (or whoever) experts planted stuff everywhere to stabilise the sand dunes and stop the sand migration. It’s worked perfectly creating unnaturally steep sand dunes edging the beach, its made the beach to narrow on higher tides, and the sand flow no longer creates the same sandbanks it used too. They think they’ve done a great job, but in reality it has adversely effected the surf.

bonza's picture
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bonza Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:01pm

Isn’t that the legacy of sand mining and subsequent bitou plantings?

morg's picture
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morg Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:17pm

No, not at Nobbys. Dune care people turned up a few years ago and started planting to stabilise the sand and still do it periodically. I’ve tried to have discussions with them in the past about how they are actually changing things adversely for beach users, but they don’t listen to reason.

bonza's picture
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bonza Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 7:43pm

Ok fair enough. have you tried talking to the council and enviro officer who I assume oversee the dunecare group? have they provided feedback? Is it related to what's going on at Stockton?

morg's picture
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morg Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 8:16pm

Initial planting was many years ago, and other than a few initial conversations where It became apparent that they were on a mission, none of us really pursued it. At that time it all seemed harmless enough to stabilise the sand, improve the flora and appearance, and make it more usable for ‘everybody’. To be fair, I don’t think anyone at that time really thought it could be a bad thing and there was little community support to object. In fact most people would look at it now and say it has been a good thing. Arguably it would only be the older beach users and surfers that would realise how it has effected the beach and surf. Some surfers say the sandbank and inner reef wave have never been the same since Pasha Bulker was grounded there, I suspect the issue is more about changing sand movements.

Stockton is a completely different situation.

bonza's picture
bonza's picture
bonza Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 8:49pm

Yeah cool. good luck with it Morg. Be a tough gig arguing against native dune reveg (albeit on an unnatural system). still.. if its been a few years.. might be worth touch base with the enviro officer again to discuss. all the best.

Trentslatterphoto's picture
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Trentslatterphoto Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 10:27am

is Tom Murray any relation to callum

Hutchy 19's picture
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Hutchy 19 Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 11:31am

At other places in the shire they get a bulldozer to push sand back up to the dune .

Maybe there was no sand to push up ?

spinafex's picture
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spinafex Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 1:44pm

Visitors to the Shire should have to bring a bag of sand with them

sy Llama's picture
sy Llama's picture
sy Llama Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 2:01pm

Maybe, just maybe they'll listen to the very people who have made this their second home or invariably their first, the old timers who have looked at their beach for 60 years checking the banks etc. Dune care have well and truly fucked it up, well done.

bonza's picture
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bonza Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 2:18pm

How?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 at 6:01pm

The number of dune management and coastal process experts on here with 20/20 hindsight is really something.

Some of the old-timers have got valuable local knowledge, but you reckon we should listen to the people who have made Byron their second home, the real experts? That could be the most entitled comment I ever read.

Have you ever participated in Dunecare, sy Llama? Writing off the volunteers who do Dunecare is a completely shithouse act.

It seems you're in good company, though - nothing like a pile-on of armchair experts carping after the fact about the people who actually got off their backside to do something about a real problem.

sy Llama's picture
sy Llama's picture
sy Llama Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 11:04am

It's a figure of speech, camping out, to spend most of your time down the beach,the table of knowledge etc, I made no reference to Byron bay first homes or second homes, I'm sorry if you miss read my comment, if there were no house's built close to the ocean, there would be no such thing as dune care. History tells us that human intervention fuck it up. Thank you

lilas's picture
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lilas Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 3:08am

Sorry to burst everyone's Dune-vegetation bubble, but based on science and from my 45 years of beach going experience, I've never once seen any type of vegetation survive the onslaught of the ocean when it's angry.
There is simply no truth to the supposed fact that vegetation can prevent beach erosion from ocean waves. Even densely packed trees with massive root systems are simply no match for the power of waves.
I am the most fanatical tree-hugger/planter around, but I'm not foolish enough to ignore science and my own eyes. Trees will save the planet, just not your local beach-front property.
The ONLY thing that will stop beach erosion is to put a reef in the wave impact zone to dissipate the wave energy before it reaches the beach.
It's that fucking simple, put some fucking rocks out there you idiot Councillors and stop wasting our tax money on your kiddie sand-bags and dune re-vegetation.
Anyone seen the size of the waves in Hawaii? So why do they even have beaches left when 40ft of swell marches in? Because of the offshore reef dissipating the energy before it hits the beach.

...and by the way, these man-made offshore reefs could also provide amazing surf. Fancy that!
Come on guys & girls, lets get with the science a bit more and stop pretending anything we are currently doing to control beach-erosion is working at all.
And plant a tree today, but just don't expect it to stop any beach erosion.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 11:56am

Lilas, sorry to burst your science bubble, but I'm not sure that the University of Hawaii would really agree with you.

Work they did as far back as 2012 concluded:
"An assessment of coastal change over the past century has found 70% of beaches on the islands of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, and Maui are undergoing long-term erosion, according to a US Geological Survey (USGS) / SOEST report released on 05-07-12." https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/soestwp/announce/news/70-of-beaches-eroding...

Further work by the Uni of Hawaii includes the book "Living on the Shores of Hawai‘i: Natural Hazards, the Environment, and Our Communities" from 2015. Chapter 9 Beach Erosion and Loss is available here - http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/coasts/publications/shores/9Beach_erosion_FL...

If people were a bit more careful with their use of "science" to prove a point we'd all be better off. It's that fucking simple....apparently. I suggest applying that principle to your understanding of coastal processes and erosion management. Wave attenuation isn't necessarily the panacea you describe.

lilas's picture
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lilas Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 5:47am

@Tango
Thanks for the links and don't worry as you didn't burst my science bubble at all.
If you re-read my text you will notice that my point was that vegetation is no match for powerful ocean swells. I never once said vegetation won't help alleviate beach erosion, or erosion in general, just that alone, it can't stop the full brunt of powerful waves. I'd love to read a study where trees/vegetation growing in loose beach dunes somehow stopped 10-12ft waves from decimating them, but you won't find one as this is just physically impossible. This was all said in context of the specific Byron Bay [and majority of east coast beaches] issue where we have built too close to the beach. All we have is a small sand-dune with vegetation to try and stop the large ocean waves.
Short of having a much wider Dune buffer [which just aint going to happen] the only way to stop beach erosion is a combination of measures such as wave energy dissipation and foreshore stabilization.[Dunes/vegetation]
And as usual, everything in science comes down to energy, so the wave energy dissipation IS the panacea here, as without energy, you don't get erosion. Erosion is merely environmental energy interactions, so remove the energy and you don't get a reaction.

And have a look at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&u... where you can download some open source fluid/ocean wave simulation software [made by scientists!] to show how wave dissipation affects the shoreline. It's so much fun to use!
Peace, love and science!

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 9:04am

Touche, lilas. Sorry if I got that awry.

That looks like a great tool...I'm bad enough reading these foums and the paper, so I might leave that rabbit hole for another day.

I agree re the battle of vegetated dune vs waves, and that the essential problem is that we've built too close to the coast with states structures in a dynamic environment. I'm the first to admit I'm not the full bottle on the Byron conundrum, but I've been involved and am now watching for the past 25 years. It's sad to see the issue hasn't been sorted out properly after so much time and energy has been spent on it.

I agree with your point about the wave energy being important - not sure it's a panacea, though. My concern with wave dissipation is precisely that it's going to mess with the energy, and while it might be good for dissipating onshore energy flows, I'm not so sure about longshore effects and the potential for other unintended consequences. That's not a bad thing in itself, but I'm not sure that the people or impacted beach systems of Byron could cope with anything that didn't make it utopian. I do think there needs to be some braver decision making and trials of things as the problem is real and only going to get worse.

As for creating surfing reefs, I'm not sure that case is settled either, as I haven't seen anything about the NSW Govt being OK about the liability it creates. It's a shame the Narrowneck project and others have had their problems, but at least they've been tried.

Peace, love and science....indeed.

G.M's picture
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G.M Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 6:36am
Emma Rennie wrote:

Byron Shire Council is hopeful that the worst of the erosion in Byron Bay is over, with satellite imagery showing sand is gradually moving back towards Main Beach.

There use to be a lagoon on Clarke's Beach but cyclone Tracey tail end wiped it out in 74. Beaches have never been the same. We use to see the bay full of sea mullet every living sea creatures feeding on them . The abattoir shut down then Byron went boutique. Mr Watego would kick every white person out of Byron. I had the privilege of knowing him and his mother. He was the ranger in Byron.

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Bob Sacamano Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 7:25am

I heard they got some rare earth dune healing crystals and lined them on the foreshore during a waning gibbous for maximum effect. They seem to be working but as you'd expect attract a bunch of tin foil hat wearing yogis on longboards. Only Thor can remove them. Crazy times in the bay.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 8:30am

GM, the lagoon at Clarkes still regularly forms.

and the sea mullet still run on the first westerly after Anzac Day.

tango's picture
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tango Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 12:09pm

I think this highlights the dangers of perceptions and lived experience assuming some kind of primacy in people's understanding of the coast and the way things have evolved over time. We're now entering a challenging time where we have collective lived experience that ranges from around about the 1930s through to now - not even a century - coupled with social media and a mistrust in government and/or science.

I think it is really dangerous to assume that the coast should revert to the way it "was", which was a coast responding to the coastal processes which preceded its current form and the processes immediately affecting it. Our understanding of the way the coast was in the century before this is based on first-hand accounts from observers with a poor understanding of natural processes, a few historical photos which we're lucky to have and the work of a range of coastal geomorphologists and the like over the past 50-60 years. Anecdotal evidence has a firm place in all of that, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt as very few people have an understanding of the complexity of the factors and many often only see part of the puzzle and go for simplistic explanations.

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velocityjohnno Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 12:30pm

Don't just take it from us, Tango, take it from DPIWE in Tassie:

https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/MarramGrass.pdf

The stuff is a bloody damn blight. Read both pages of their flyer - these guys are the scientists studying it.

Native species protect better from beach erosion as they feature a more gradual slope into the sea and more areas of natural dune sand blowout. There is more sand offshore to protect the coast from large swell. There is less coastal erosion. It is not a case of not knowing the past, for there are still some beaches that have not been taken over by marram - south coast of the continent. It is possible to compare one to the other in real time.

If you've ever been in a place to see the difference, it will blow you away. Wave quality, barrels, A frames.

Craig's picture
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Craig Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 12:51pm

Yep, Marram is a scourge.

tango's picture
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tango Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 1:40pm

I think you're misinterpreting me there, VJ. I completely agree that marram is a scourge, as Craig puts it, and I think it's responsible for a range of bad outcomes on the coast. That flyer is from 2003, and the effects were becoming clear when I worked in the system in NSW back in the 90s.

My point was more to do with the comment FR responded to, not the issue of marram, and probably influenced by a few comments I made about the shark issue in another thread.

I agree that natives are generally better at trapping sand and the resulting beach profile can better respond to coastal processes and mitigate erosion, but that's not a blanket rule. As I understand it, large-scale marram plantings were undertaken by many groups ranging from government, private industry and community groups to stabilise areas after significant disturbance and/or erosion events such as the storms of the 70s where there was significant erosion in 71, 74, 76 and 78. There are stacks of examples, particularly along the NSW coast. This was embraced by most players through the 80s and 90s.

However, it's not always correct to say that natives protect better from beach erosion, as it can depend on the context. For example, if a beach has been badly eroded and there is little sand it can be hard for natives to establish and hold sand, especially if there's another storm. Yes, they don't create as significant an erosion scarp as marram, but the key issue is how much sand is available on the beach and through the profile to withstand wave action. So it needs to be a well-established and more mature dune system to respond best to wave action, and once you start eroding past the foredune where the spinifex and other plants are the primary colonisers, and into the secondary and hind-dune systems the veg there will also hold sand to form a steep scarp.

As for more sand offshore, I'm sure that's the case with some beach systems, but it cannot be said for all beaches because the geomorphology, veg, orientation, wave climate, sand types and offshore geology/bathymetry all play a role in affecting sand transport and accretion/erosion.

I have been in lots of places without marram, I'm not sure that you can confidently say it's just because of marram - are you aware of any work that's been done?

Craig's picture
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Craig Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 1:58pm

Yeah Woonona is a great working example. They removed all the invasive species trapping the sand and anecdotally evidence from the locals was that the banks returned..

https://www.coastalconference.com/2014/papers2014/Aimee%20Beardsmore%20F...

tango's picture
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tango Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 4:13pm

Thanks for posting the link to that, Craig.

Worth noting that it seems to be a conference paper (not a journal paper with peer review) and seems to focus on the results of the first 12 months of monitoring after the works were completed in 2013. It's a good intro and starting point, but 12 months worth of monitoring on a project like this is nowhere near enough to ascertain its success.

It's interesting that surf quality doesn't seem to have been an issue raised in community consultation, and that the recreational amenity issue that did emerge was related to beach width. They also say that the original reveg work started in 1986 comprised a mix of plants and not just marram, several of which are not invasive species at all. So it would be interesting to understand the mix of the veg which then extended 30m seaward of the original plantings, particularly if marram is considered to be the culprit. The author states it was mainly acacia, with pest species including bitou, lantana and asparagus fern. So already there are a few question marks about the relationship between vegetation and improvements in surf quality.

Interesting also looking at the aerial photos and the changes in the beach width and offshore features at those points in time. You can clearly see accretion in the northern corner.

But what is driving it is interesting. Here is a report by Deakin Uni researcher Nicholas Pucino on Woonona and prepared for a course at the Uni of Wollongong.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315837435_The_Coastal_Morphodyn...

In it he identifies some of the characteristics of the beach, and notes that the dominant direction of storms between 2001 and 2007 shifted from ESE to SSE which may be driving accretion at the northern end.

He says in the abstract "The beach is eroding its southern end and occasionally accreting the northern one, suggesting a counterwise beach rotation typical of El Niño periods" The conclusion states: "It can be concluded that in the long-term, a persistent trend of southern erosion and northern accretion occurs, while a major seaward movement of the vegetation line seems to suggest a volumetric increase."

So it seems from this piece of work at least the drivers for the accretion at Woonoona may be quite complex and not solely due to vegetation.

I'm not discounting the observations of the locals, but it's nowhere near clear that surf quality can be attributed to changes in veg on the beach. Despite how good it would be to be able to mess around with the dunes a bit and create perfect banks.

Craig's picture
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Craig Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 7:09am

Yep, gotchya. I should have looked deeper into that link, and come across the info you've outlined above. Thanks.

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velocityjohnno Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 3:47pm

Cheers Tango thankyou for the reply, you sound like you have been at the coal face of this. Perhaps I misunderstood - though I'm digging in and saying Marram is more of a pest than a blessing.

If by work done, do you mean a net positive difference after planting the Marram? Or in what I might think is an unspoiled area, that I'm missing planting that may have occurred?

I'm thinking of one 'control' location in particular, it looked phenomenal, and such a wide low gradient into the surf. Lots of blowout, and probably the best beachy barrels I've ever seen in Oz.

tango's picture
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tango Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 4:27pm

I don't know enough about it to judge whether it's been an overall blessing or curse, VJ - I could do some homework but I've already had a bit too much of a Swellnet day and better get some work done. I know a lot of people who think its a devil plant.

I suppose you'd need to ask the question of what was the alternative at the time. I don't think the public consciousness or government recognition of the value of the beach was high enough back then to justify the resources required to plant out those areas with spinifex and other natives. The natives often take longer to establish, in which time sand can blow away quickly depending on the wind/storm patterns. You'd also have to do maintainance on it for longer.

The ecological impact is a lot easier to appreciate, though I'm not aware of any work done to unpick that, either.

The wide low gradient to the surf isn't necessarily a result of the veg - the most common determinant of that as I understand it comes from the sand type, grain size and dominant energy affecting the beach (eg east coast beaches are often flatter in the southern corner with finer sand due to the protection from the dominant SE swell). Offshore features will also have an effect. Not sure what you mean by blowout, though - my understanding is that blowouts are areas of mobile sand such as what used to happen without walkways, and they allow sand to be blow landward by onshores, promoting dunes to migrate.

Best keep those beachy barrels under wraps.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 4:57pm

I know nothing....

As soon as the rest of Australia decides they want NSW/Vic's airborne lergy and misery, I'm off to, um, nowhere, none of your business ;)

Edit: yeah, the blowout, I've come to understand that as good for surf shape. Offshore winds deposit new sand... Am I right?

tango's picture
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tango Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 8:48am

Haha. And good luck with that.

I haven't heard of offshores making a significant contribution to inshore sand deposits on the Vic/NSW/Qld coasts, though if the blowout/poorly vegetated area is big enough, the wind strong enough and the sand grain size right then there is probably a degree of movement. How much sand that equates to, how far it moves and where it occurs, I don't know. I'd also expect that there aren't many beaches, particularly those in built-up areas or with good vegetation across the dune complex, where the offshore gets enough push to make a difference - there's often a fair degree of protection from the offshore direction unless the beach is very wide, whereas the onshore direction is commonly highly exposed. But you might need to consult the good Dr Google.

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groundswell Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 9:52am

Off topic but i was speaking to one of Jim Banks's friends from early cronulla days and he couldnt understand why Jim moved to Byron Bay. The guy i was talking to moved to huskison or sussex inlet, somewhere around there and said the waves down there would have suited Jim a lot more than the soft pointbreaks around Byron Bay. I guess the people, hippy attitude was more to his liking...South coast nsw has so many good waves in almost any wind including straight east.and waves in almost every nook and cranny.used to be cheap to buy a house too. in 95 houses in sussex inlet and ulladulla were selling for around $100 000 near the beach.

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Yippee Thursday, 30 Sep 2021 at 12:32pm

There has been considerable "debate" on another (community) site about the erosion at Clarkes.
Two ideas were put forward with good argument;
1. a big contributor to the problem is the stormwater run off especially from the caravan park.
Easy to see the underlying coffee rock getting cut down & breaking up after rain.
As soon as its exposed its eroded and gone. Semi solid base removed, contributing to the damage done by the sand miners of old.

2. the vegetation on the dunes is actually starving the bay of sand that would otherwise be blowing back into the bay in southerly (offshore) winds, and supplementing the current supply stuff coming around the corner.
This idea was supported by some photoes & film from south (Newcastle/Central Coast area?)

Couple quick stories from the past;
My old neighbour, who lived in her house for around 70 years
told me that the hanging lake was to the south east of the rec. fields - Carlyle/Cowper St area. A lovely freshwater sand bottom lake she would swim in as a girl.
Like Frazer Is. She remembered the day, the moment, the sand miners ripped the corner out and she watched the water drain away. She cried.
Second story, an old bloke walked into the building on Marvel St now painted yellow - the last weatherboard shack in that part of town - and told his storey of growing up in that house and how as a boy he & his mates would be told to fetch the fishing boats from the jetty in before a blow.
They would bring them in the creek at Clarkes, and along the back (north) of the rec grounds along the creek that still (sort of) exists today, and tie these substantial boats to his back fence - the creek was that wide and deep.
The Bay is as beautiful as it has ever been, and is home to a lot of interesting and amusing characters. It has changed character many times since white settlement.
But to the commentariat, it is like everywhere is allowed to change, except BB.
The Bay is supposed to magically remain the same. Weird.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 8:27am

not sure sand transport in Byron Bay has much to do with local movement on and off dunes.

More to do with volume of offshore sand slugs coming around the Cape.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 9:33am

Yep, 100%.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 7:22pm

+1

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 9:49am

Not sure I've ever seen the Pass bank as long, straight and enduring as it has been.

Look at that thing!

you could put a ruler on it.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 7:21pm

It looks even better than it was back in May when I was up there, and it was crazy good then. Hows the edge on it through Clarkes.

Franco Minati's picture
Franco Minati's picture
Franco Minati Friday, 1 Oct 2021 at 7:44pm

To many human alterations . Nature is confused .