Tide turns toward a solution for Noosa Spit estuary erosion and dog beach
  • Saturday 11 September 2010

A leading professor of Coastal Management, engaged by Sunshine Coast Council, believes a solution to prevent further erosion of the Noosa Spit river estuary and re-establish Noosa Woods’ ‘dog beach’ has been found.

At a stakeholder presentation this week, a plan to halt the 10 metre per year rate of erosion at the Spit and minimise the risk of river breakthrough to Noosa Sound was outlined by a team of expert coastal management consultants.

The plan will result in the protection of the Noosa Woods’ walking paths and the reinstatement of one of Noosa’s popular community assets, the Noosa Woods ‘dog beach’.

The proposed, staged plan involves diversion of the current channel using a combination of semi-submerged, sand filled fabric containers (known as Geocontainers®) and rock revetments (walls).

After extensive scientific modelling, council’s original proposal to construct a rock revetment in front of the dog beach is considered no longer required resulting in a better visual and environmental outcome for the area. The new channel would be clearly marked for the safety of boat users and swimmers.

Professor Rodger Tomlinson who provided a peer review in support of the plan agreed that the proposed plan would minimise erosion, reinstate the beach and reduce the risk of a river breakthrough to Noosa Sound.

Professor Tomlinson, Director of the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, the Gold Coast City Council’s Professor of Coastal Management and the Coastal Program Leader of Griffith University’s Climate Response Team, cautioned that a “do nothing” approach was not an option.

“The key issue within this context is whether natural erosion tendencies should be allowed to occur or not,” he said

“A do nothing option in my opinion would ultimately lead to erosion of the Noosa River Spit to an extent where it would be breached, allowing channel scour and possibly wave attack along the foreshore of Noosa Sound, and even a breakthrough to the ocean at Noosa Woods.

“It is difficult to come up with any other viable alternatives which would meet the diverse design constraints of bank stability, beach amenity and limited environmental impact.

“The recommended use of Geocontainers® also provides a cost effective solution with minimal environmental impact”.

Division 11 Cr Russell Green said that he believed the majority of the community would welcome the study recommendations.

“This option provides a sound, scientifically based, cost effective solution that council has been seeking to restore one of the most beautiful foreshores in Queensland, protect residents of Noosa Sound and reinstate one of Noosa’s favourite community assets.

“We know from the high level of community feedback, including a petition presented to council in March 2008 signed by 1045 people, that the Noosa Spit ‘dog beach’ has been sorely missed.

“This plan will also provide a level of safety and certainty for Noosa Sound residents and commercial boat operators and recreational fisherman concerned about the degradation of the Spit area.”

One resident who is happy to hear news of a solution to the Spit’s woes is David Heckendorf who presented the 1045 signatory petition to council.

“The Noosa Spit and the dog beach are really special parts of Noosa.

“We’ve had support to reinstate the beach and fix the erosion problem from a large and diverse group of residents and visitors including dog owners, non-dog owners, walkers, swimmers, boaties and even a marriage celebrant who used to stage weddings on the dog beach.

“I know this news is bound to make a lot of four legged Noosa residents particularly happy.”

A report outlining the recommendation will now go to council for endorsement in October (19 October - Committee and 26 October - Ordinary meeting to be ratified).

If endorsed by council, the project will be staged over a two to three years to both spread the cost and to allow monitoring of the river and impacts of any work.