The Largest Dredging Project in Gold Coast’s History Starts

Image source: Rohde Nielsen

The City of Gold Coast just announced that the biggest offshore dredging program in the city’s history will start today, shifting millions of cubic meters of sand onto the beaches.

The 111-meter Balder R hopper dredger, owned by Danish company Rohde Nielsen, will spend 16 weeks working along Palm Beach and the coastal strip from Miami to Main Beach as part of the $13.9 million Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project.

Mayor Tom Tate said that the project would increase the volume of sand on our vulnerable beaches above and below the waterline, improving their resilience to coastal erosion.

“This project involves dredging three million cubic meters of clean sand from deep water offshore sand supply areas and relocating it around the wave-break zone by bottom dumping and ‘rainbowing’,” he said.

“Bottom dumping releases sand into the wave breaking zone through the vessel’s hull. Rainbowing projects sand from the bow of the vessel into the wave breaking zone.”

“Thanks to extensive research and improved technology including the study of coastal data from wave buoys, beach surveys, camera monitoring and computer modelling, we have ample data to know exactly where to place the sand,” he said.

The city announced that this sand placement will have two benefits:

  • Sand in the wave-breaking zone will have an immediate effect on beach widening. Sand will be placed in patterns to replicate natural rhythmic sand bar formations known to promote good quality surfing conditions. Surfing is being considered as part of the nourishment in line with the City’s Surf Management Plan;
  • Sand placed further offshore in deeper areas will move more slowly, increasing the volume of sand along the beach.

The nourishment at Palm Beach is one component of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project. The second component is the construction of an artificial reef, scheduled for 2019.

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