Thanks to the DuneCare members and volunteers who worked steadily over the summer holidays on sand-trapping and replanting both the main dune and the fore dune. In some places the fore dune is even beginning to spawn another little dune nearer the water. DuneCare’s ongoing success is a credit to Craig Drabsch as he hands over the Coordinator responsibility to Sharon Nelson after three years. Thanks Craig and Sharon.
We reported earlier in the Little Hero article that the fore dune has already protected the main dune from substantial storms. However, as Kristin Stubbins noted recently “..we are worried that the fore-dunes that have been built up might be taken by a big storm and then it takes us 6 months to organise a beach scrape (to repair it) – and there could be another storm in that time” which could seriously damage the main dune.
So it was timely to hear from Angus Gordon, Chair of the NSW Coastal Committee, that “I would always recommend it (beach scraping, also known as Nature Assisted Beach Enhancement) during the recovery phase after a severe erosion event. … I think I would put beach scraping on the “to do” list if you see the fore dunes being eroded”. For more detail on Angus’ views here is his recent paper, some of the highlights of which are :
- Beach scraping provides potential to limit the erosion impacts of subsequent storms. Reforming a fore dune sand buffer prior to secondary storms can reduce, but not overcome, the long-term rate of shoreline recession.
- Focus on dune re-formation is vital. The sooner a sediment buffer is re-established at the back of the beach, the better it provides protection against following storm events. The formation of an incipient fore dune assists with deflection of onshore winds at the rear of the beach, allowing gravity to assist in releasing sand for depositing on the emerging dune.Also, the sooner the incipient dunes are formed the sooner re-planting and re-colonisation by remnant vegetation can occur, thus “kick-starting” the natural process that will eventually lead to the re-establishment of an effective, vegetated dune system.
- NABE is basically a mechanical intervention to speed up the natural processes of beach and fore dune recovery after a storm event. It is a useful tool to achieve rapid reestablishment of a fore dune and beach berm. It can be used not only to create a buffer against further back beach erosion during following storms, but also to re-establish a dune crest level that will prevent a wash through from wave over-topping. While it is not a panacea for overcoming long-term coastal recession it can reduce the recession rate by mitigating the compounding impacts of multiple storm erosion events.
Based on that very experienced advice, the CCPA steering committee has begun the next step of working with the Council to have a beach scraping plan pre-approved and pre-funded so as to be ready when its needed to quickly repair the fore dune.
Cautionary note: meaningful progress of that plan will be tied to getting our new CZMP approved by the Minister along with the funding application that went along with it.