Sunshine Coast’s first nearshore nourishment project on the way

A trial will soon begin to see if a technique never before seen on the Sunshine Coast could be used to help replenish Maroochydore Beach in the future.

The project is due to begin in November and will use a method, called nearshore nourishment, in what will be a first for the region. It involves importing sand from Moreton Bay and placing it in the water, about 300m off the beach.

Waves, currents and tides will then deposit the sand onto the Sunshine Coast beaches providing an additional buffer against future storms and coastal erosion.

To do this, from November 16 to 24 (weather permitting), a dredge will collect sand from the Spitfire Channel and transport it to Maroochydore Beach for release, potentially using two methods.

One technique may include dropping the sand from the bottom of the barge and the other will spray the sand in a rainbow shape into the water. The results of both methods will be compared.

According to Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox, Maroochydore Beach had been subject to significant erosion events over the years and adding new sand from outside the region, such as the Spitfire Channel in Moreton Bay, could help nourish the area and protect it from further erosion.

“The trial will supplement the existing sand renourishment program that involves collecting sand from the Maroochy River and pumping it onto the beach,” said Cr Cox.

“Trialling the new technique will assist us to make evidence-based decisions about the future management of our coastline. The trial will provide critical evidence to support our understanding of how this technique works here on the Sunshine Coast,” added Cr Cox.

Cr Cox also said that although this technique had not been used on the Sunshine Coast, it was a well-established method and proven successful for other government bodies on the Australian east coast, including the Gold Coast.

“We expect the trial will show that additional sand placed in the nearshore area, close to the sand bar, will naturally migrate to the shoreline over time. This will confirm the effectiveness of this well-established methodology to enable us to use it in the future if we need to,” concluded Cr Cox.

Council has established a technical advisory group to act on behalf of the community and contribute to the project. Members include Sunshine Coast Council officers and councillors, Queensland Government representatives, Surf Lifesaving Queensland, Queensland Police Service and expert engineering consultants.

Photo: Sunshine Coast