Bribie Island Breakthrough Action Plan
  • Last updated:
  • 27 Jan 2023

The Bribie Island Breakthrough Action Plan[12009KB] has been in place since 2014.

It lists the threats to the Golden Beach foreshore in the event of a breakthrough at Bribie Island. It includes the actions to help council reduce these impacts.

Overview

Our actions focus on protecting Golden Beach foreshore. As well as the important community areas like roads, parks, and playgrounds.

The Queensland Government is responsible for the management and monitoring of Bribie Island as it is a National Park. We offer support to the Queensland Government as needed.

Guided by this plan, we have been preparing for a breakthrough at Bribie Island since 2014. Our actions to date include:

  • Sand renourishment - annual dredging of the Pumicestone Passage to renourish the sand along Golden Beach.
  • Monitoring - regular monitoring of the area through beach surveys along Golden Beach. This provides a long term and reliable source of data, used as a base for decisions.
  • Infrastructure upgrades - replacing the degraded geotextile bag groynes with rock structures at Oxley Street, Leichardt Street, Wills Avenue and Jellicoe Street. These rock structures:
    • help to keep more sand in place
    • limit the channel moving further west
    • give the structures a longer life.

We have also upgraded some degraded seawalls along the foreshore around Jellicoe Street, Tripcony Lane and Lamerough Canal entrance.

Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy

This action plan also aligns with the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS), which aims to better understand and plan for current and future impacts of coastal hazards and identify innovative management options to make our coastal areas and communities more resilient.

It lists the key hazards at coastal locations across the Sunshine Coast and the adaptation response.

For the Pumicestone Passage and Golden Beach, this includes:

  • a focus on maintenance and upgrade of groynes and seawall infrastructure
  • reviewing planning controls
  • encouraging resilient homes
  • drainage investigations
  • beach nourishment and coordination of risk mitigation at Fraser Park.

Due to the breakthrough, water level monitoring has shown increases equivalent to 2041 conditions. The CHAS outlines our response, and the actions above are already underway.

See page 98 to 109 of Part A of the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy for more information on Golden Beach management options.

Updates

The January 2022 breakthrough at Bribie Island has created a very dynamic and fast changing environment in the Pumicestone Passage. Council is watching closely and responding to as its able. The current width of the breakthrough is around 950m.

It is the Queensland Government’s responsibility to determine the new high tide level in the Pumicestone Passage.

However, in the months since the breakthrough, tidal monitoring in the Pumicestone Passage has shown a change to the tidal dynamics of:

  • a reduction in the tidal attenuation in the Passage (tidal attenuation is the reduction in tidal profile between two locations)
  • Marine Safety Queensland has updated the published level of highest astronomical tide. The level has increased by of 310mm.

Conditions within the Pumicestone Passage are continuing to change. Tides are dependent on many factors such as the width of the entrances, the sand bars in the delta, storm/wave surges and barometric pressure.

The emergency preparedness flood mapping and available on Disaster Hub remains appropriate and around Golden Beach are indicative of a storm tide event slightly larger than ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth.

These maps also demonstrate that if such an event was to occur, there would be inundation of roads reserves and park areas, but inundation of private lots would be limited.

We would like to reassure Golden Beach residents that we are taking their concerns and this change seriously.

As a high priority we are investigating both short and long-term protection measures. This piece of work is complicated, costly and involved and will take time to deliver the most appropriate outcome.

As high priority, council will engage with experts for advice, support, planning and action. Longer term solutions will take time and council will continue to update Golden Beach property owners when expert information comes to hand. Please refer to where to from here section below for further information.

Council will analyse recent surveys and on-site observations to determine future requirements for sand nourishment dredging work and also take into consideration its dredge permit conditions. As the recent June 2022 surveys show many areas of gain, council expects to undertake nourishment along the foreshore in the first half of 2023, further updates will be provided to this website when information is available.

The sand bars in the northern area of the Pumicestone Passage have been shifting in response to the breakthrough. The volume increase in sand in the northern entrance of the Pumicestone Passage is consistent with the low energy (low currents and low waves) environment that it is currently under. There has also been a general shift westward of the sand banks immediately in front of the southern breakthrough which is as expected.

It is encouraging that no nourishment activities were performed from Lamerough Creek to Bells Creek and it is not showing signs of increasing erosion which means it is relatively stable at the moment.

As the sands shift and the entrances stabilise it will be imperative to continue to monitor the foreshore to understand and changes. We ask all our powered and non-powered watercraft users to take care and regularly check the MSQ website for updates.

We are aware of the site erosion at TS Onslow. The landowner (Queensland Government) and lease holder (Naval Cadets) are responsible for this area.

We have been on site, helping to make it safe and have put warning signage up. As this is Queensland Government land, we will continue to offer support and guidance as necessary.

The higher tide levels have increased the frequency of nuisance flooding in lower-lying areas of Golden Beach and Diamond Head, due to backflow through the stormwater network. Backflow prevention devices can reduce the amount of water that can flow backwards up the stormwater pipe. A relatively new style of backflow prevention device will be trialled to test how they perform under the local conditions at Golden Beach and in the Pumicestone Passage.

Stormwater network modelling and site investigations have concluded that backflow prevention devices are not suitable for all stormwater outlets in the area with current site conditions. Reasons include:

  • At some locations the adjacent ground level is low enough for the tide to frequently overtop, effectively bypassing the backflow prevention device.
  • At some locations the outlets and/or stormwater network requires upgrading or significant modification to be able to retrofit backflow prevention.
  • At some locations the installation of a backflow device could worsen flooding during heavy rainfall events.

The results of the trial will be used to inform whether they should be installed at other suitable locations and if they can be incorporated into future stormwater infrastructure upgrades delivered in the area.

Monitoring

Regular monitoring of the area through beach surveys along Golden Beach to provide a long term and reliable source of data is used as a base for decisions.

Surveys

The June 2022 surveys show that from February 2022 – June 2022 there was:

  • 1710m3 gained from Oxley Street to Nelson Street
  • 550m3 gained from the Power Boat Club
  • 320m3 lost from Lamerough creek to Bells Creek

June 2022 survey – northern section 1[14000KB]
June 2022 survey – mid section 2[920KB]
June 2022 survey – southern section 3[7407KB]

The February 2022 surveys show that from December 2021 – February 2022 there was:

  • 1320m3 of sand lost from Oxley Street to TS Onlsow
  • 20m3 of sand lost from the Power Boat Club beaches
  • 380m3 of sand gained from Lamerough Creek to Bells Creek.

February 2022 survey – northern section 1[17175KB]
February 2022 survey – mid section 2[1681KB]
February 2022 survey – southern section 3[10633KB]

    Tidal gauge

    We have installed a tidal gauge at Military Jetty which we use to measure the level of the tides. This gauge will then allow us to scientifically determine the changes in water level within the Pumicestone Passage at Golden Beach, as a result of the Bribie Island break through. Check out the real time tidal data real time tidal data on the Queensland Government website. 

    We are also monitoring the area via aerial satellite images, as shown in the below video.

    Where to from here

    Council is taking the following action:

    Infrastructure upgrades

    This year we will upgrade the seawall south of Jellicoe Street to Nelson Street. This will protect the valuable park, road and amenities block immediately next to the seawall.

    Next year a backflow prevention device trial will be started near Monash Street.

    Community meetings

    Community meetings are being organised through the Member for Caloundra’s office and we will attend when invited, along with the Queensland Government.

    Responding to a flooding event

    Across the region, flood mapping shows that some low-lying property owners have a chance of shallow depth inundation in large storm tide events.

    At Golden Beach, this has been exacerbated by the Bribie Island breakthrough, which has effectively bought forward a sea level rise expected from climate change by 20 to 30 years.

    However, if a flooding event were to occur at Golden Beach, threats from inundation to private properties could be managed with support from the SES through temporary measures such as sand bagging, as has been the case for other historical floods across the region.

    We will also investigate options for other temporary protection measures along the coastal foreshore, recognising that we need to be prepared for potential events.  

    Preliminary investigations of a coastal barrier confirm the need to consider backflow prevention devices for the stormwater network.

    The installation of temporary coastal protection measures would also need to consider factors such as logistics of installation, safety issues and potential exacerbation of erosion. 

    Proposed Coastal Hazard Mitigation and Drainage Options Analysis for Golden Beach

    We recognise that longer term adaptation planning needs to consider multiple options and be informed by experts in the field with experience and knowledge of similar projects delivered in other locations around the world.

    We would like to conduct a Coastal Hazard Mitigation and Drainage Options Analysis for Golden Beach and involve the community in considering these options, informed by:

    • an understanding of costs and consequences
    • how the interface between the private and public realm will be managed over time
    • how different options might alter the use of the coastal foreshore or the community’s sense of place.

    Such an approach is complex and comprehensive, it will take time and will be expensive.

    For this reason, in partnership with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES), we applied for grant funding from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) through their Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program for the options analysis. The project cannot commence until contracts to finalise funding have been executed with DES and the NRRA.

    We look forward to working with the local community on this project.

    Storm tide study

    An independent expert has been engaged to review and update council’s storm tide study, inclusive of changes to the tidal regime within Pumicestone Passage as a result of the Bribie Island Breakthough.

    Planning levels

    Since the introduction of the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme in 2014, planning levels for new construction have been based on a future climate condition anticipated in the year 2100. This means that allowances have been included for sea level rise. Additionally it has been assumed that northern section of Bribie Island will be lost to natural coastal processes.

    How you can help

    There are several ways you can help:

    Reporting issues

    It is important the community report blockages of stormwater infrastructure. This may be blocked inlet grates in the street or sand covering stormwater outlets. This can be done through a residents MyCouncil webpage or by contacting council customer services on (07) 5475 7272.

    Data collection

    Please send photos of debris lines from high tides, storm tide, wave runup or stormwater ponding. It is important that the location of these photos is provided as coordinates or as a point shown on a map, as well as the date and time when the photo was taken. Please email these photos to hydrology@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

    Be prepared

    Check our disaster pages for tips on how to be prepared during a disaster.

    Dead tree removal

    There has been a big loss of trees and other plants at the Bribie Island breakthrough site. This has resulted in a lot more debris above and below the high-water mark.

    This vegetation, even when dead, is considered a marine plant by Queensland Government legislation. It can only be removed in special circumstances. This could include for public safety or because it’s damaging an approved erosion structure. If the plant debris is in the water, it can only be removed by Marine Safety Queensland if it is in a marked navigation channel.

    If you think a piece of vegetation should be removed please lodge the details via our online service request form.

    Further investigations underway guided by the CHAS

    We do need the Pumicestone Passage to settle before we can have a complete understanding of the impact on the Golden Beach foreshore. At the same time guided by the CHAS, we are also investigating:

    • the potential impact on the stormwater and drainage network
    • any ongoing impact to some of the foreshore picnic tables, seating and pathways
    • any ongoing impact on the health and growth of grass and trees along the foreshore from the ocean water
    • the best ways to manage the sand and debris clean-ups.

    In the meantime, please follow signage and temporary fencing for your own safety.

    Who to contact

    The breakthrough at Bribie Island opposite Golden Beach has created some very visible changes to our local environment.

    Read on to find out which agencies are responsible for the island, Pumicestone Passage and foreshore.

    Marine navigation

    Responsibility: Marine Safety Queensland, Department of Transport and Main Roads

    Marine Safety Queensland (MSQ) is responsible for improving maritime safety for recreational craft. In natural (non-dredged) waterways, such as the Pumicestone Passage, MSQ may place navigation aids to mark the best available water and issue Notices to Mariners via its website.

    Advice from MSQ is that they have been conducting surveys of the Passage since the breakthrough, continuing to see significant sand movement. Given the changing nature of the Passage in trying to re-establish itself – particularly with the change in wave climate coming out of winter (moving more southeasterly) – any works such as dredging have a very high risk of having all benefits being lost in a very short time. Due to this, MSQ has recommended no works should be undertaken until a clear outcome is known - however in hand with the Department of Environment and Science, they will continue to monitor the changes using aerial photography, satellite Imagery, and Hydrographic Surveys. There are a few potential outcomes with respect to the short and long-term changes that could happen in the passage and the old northern entrance. These will greatly influence the waterway access in the passage and whether a deeper channel will form and stay open connecting north and south. MSQ has and will continue to adjust the position of navigation aids to maximise safety for the boating public.

    Proposals for dredging for navigable access or maintenance of existing dredged channels can be directed to MSQ via its BoatingInfrastructure@msq.qld.gov.au mailbox.

    Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage waters

    Responsibility: Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Department of Environment and Science

    Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS), a business unit of Department of Environment and Science (DES), manages the marine park (the water) and the recreational area (the land) of Bribie Island.

    The northern tip of Bribie Island (the land) is included in the Bribie Island National Park and Recreational Area, and is managed under the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006 and Nature Conservation Act 1992 for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation.

    Moreton Bay Marine Park covers most of the bay’s tidal works, including many estuaries, and the landward boundary is generally the line of the highest astronomical tides (HAT). QPWS are responsible for the day-to-day management of the marine park which is divided into zones to allow a range of recreational and commercial activities to occur while setting aside some areas for higher protection. More information can be found on the DES website.

    The breakthrough which occurred due to king tides, combined with large swells generated by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth, was a naturally occurring event in a dynamic coastal environment.

    Council has been advised that DES has commissioned a study (expected to be completed by Nov 22) into the causes of erosion on northern Bribie Island in response to community concerns that the erosion may have been caused by human activity with results being made available to the community once complete.

    Changes to water flows and sand bank positions is part of the natural character of Pumicestone Passage and with these changes some areas will have improved recreational value, but some areas will decrease. These changes have been occurring in the Passage over several decades, however DES recognises that the recent changes have occurred rapidly since the erosion caused a tidal breakthrough at northern Bribie Island. However, as in the past, the community may need to adjust to this ongoing change in water flows and sand bank positions.

    Golden Beach and Pelican Waters

    Responsibility: Sunshine Coast Council

    Council is responsible for:

    • planning for the future impacts of climate change through the CHAS
    • following the Bribie Island Breakthrough Plan to manage the risk of shoreline erosion and coastal inundation to the public council owned areas
    • beaches along Golden Beach
    • stormwater outlets
    • parks
    • Lamerough Canal and Pelican Waters Lake
    • a flood event in a public place.

    Beaches along Golden Beach

    Council’s focus is to protect foreshores and the area behind the foreshore, such as park and road reserves, from erosion. As per council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy, council does not protect private properties or private structures from erosion impacts.

    Council’s dredging program at Golden Beach is usually completed twice each year – before and after the storm season. The beaches that get sand depends on many factors such as recent survey data, site inspections, seagrass/marine plant locations and availability of clean sand.

    For coastal erosion issues along the Golden Beach foreshore please email CoastalandCanals@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

    Stormwater outlet maintenance

    It is a council responsibility to respond and manage stormwater network impacts. It is important the community report blockages of stormwater infrastructure. This may be blocked inlet grates in the street or sand covering stormwater outlets. This can be done through a residents MyCouncil webpage or by contacting Council customer services on (07) 5475 7272.

    Parks and gardens

    Currently Jellicoe Street Foreshore Park (at Onslow St), Monash Park and several other low foreshore sections through to Diamond Head are being affected by sand accretion and salt build up. This includes the areas adjacent to the naval sea cadets and sections of Keith Hill Park. Council actively removes sea woody/vegetative debris in parks, however removing sand build up is not currently viable due to the amount of high and king tides. Trees are being monitored for signs of ill-health decline due to salt water.

    Approximately 500m2 of Monash Park has been lost due to the sand moving near the foreshore and mangroves. Park seats and tables will be repositioned as needed for safety and comfort. Council is regularly monitoring the coastal pathway for signs of damage.

    Lamerough Canal and Pelican Waters Lake

    Lamerough Canal and Pelican Waters Lake is managed by the council and any issues with navigation or cleanliness should be directed to CoastalandCanals@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

    Pontoons in either Lamerough Canal or Pelican Waters are private structures and maintenance of a private structure is the responsibility of the owner. As the tidal heights have changed since the breakthrough it is important for owners to keep an eye on these structures during different tide heights to check it’s still working correctly. More information about maintaining private structures can be found at on the canals, lakes and locks page..

    A flood event in the public open space

    It is the Queensland Government’s responsibility to determine the new high tide level in the Pumicestone Passage.

    In the months since the breakthrough, tidal monitoring in the Pumicestone Passage has shown an increase of 200–300mm in the level of the highest astronomical tide (HAT).

    These indicative levels are slightly lower that the levels used to develop for our existing flood mapping scenarios use for emergency preparedness purposes and available on Disaster Hub. Therefore, although slightly higher, the maps on Disaster Hub are indicative of the inundation we expect if a storm tide event like ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth were occur this storm season.

    These maps also demonstrate that if such an event was to occur now, flooding of private lots would be limited.

    Council will investigate options for other temporary flooding protection measures along the coastal foreshore, recognising that we need to be prepared for potential events.
    The installation of temporary coastal protection measures would need to consider factors such as logistics of installation, safety issues and potential exacerbation of erosion or flooding.

    Being prepared for a future flooding event at a private property

    Responsibility: private property owner with support from SES.

    As the warmer months approach, we recommend residents check our online Emergency Preparedness mapping.

    Ahead of a forecast wetter-than-average Spring, Sunshine Coast residents and business owners are urged to have an emergency plan in place, pack their emergency and evacuation kits and make sure their insurance has adequate coverage and is up to date.

    Those three simple steps will help to ensure households and businesses are prepared for severe weather events.

    Residents are encouraged to look at the locations where they live, work, or where friends and family members may go to school. Look at how flooding affects the routes often travelled. It’s important to have a backup plan or know the alternative routes you can take.

    Think about how your property might be affected by different flood events. Consider any changes you might need to make to prepare for flooding now or in the future and increase your own resilience.

    Visit council’s Disaster Hub website to find the latest flood mapping, updates, practical resources and what to do before, during and after an emergency.

    Swimmer safety in Pumicestone Passage

    Responsibility: Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ).

    During the previous financial year, the Bulcock lifeguards was involved in four rescues in the area and advice from SLSQ is that it’s a very low number. SLSQ also stated that there have been no reports from lifeguards of any difficulties performing rescues or any other issues regarding silting from that location.

    TS Onslow

    Responsibility: Naval Cadets and Queensland Government.

    The TS Onslow site near to Frazer Park is held under lease by the Naval Cadets. As per council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy, the protection of this property resides with the manager/owner being the Naval Cadets.

    Council has been advised that TS Onslow Naval Cadets are currently in the process of working through a competitive grants program with a view to securing government funding to restore their boat ramp and parade ground, while also trying to stabilise some of the surrounding foreshore erosion.

    Council’s dredging program cannot renourish sand at this location because the unapproved concrete blocks and the presence of marine plants (mangroves salt couch and she-oaks).

    Council has been on site, helping to make it safe and have put warning signage up. As this is Queensland Government land, council will continue to offer support and guidance as necessary.

    Vessel safety and rescue response

    Responsibility: Caloundra Coast Guard.

    Australian Volunteer Coast Guard is a marine search and rescue organisation comprised of volunteers. The range of services offered includes marine search and rescue, offshore vessel tracking, public education and marine radio monitoring. Currently the Caloundra Coast Guard is experiencing difficulty accessing the shifting channels the breakthrough has created.

    Quick contact list

     Agency  Responsibility  Contact 
     Marine Safety Queensland  Navigation aids in natural waterways
     State boat harbours
     Education
     BoatingInfrastructure@msq.qld.gov.au

     13 74 68
     Department of Environment and Science  Bribie Island National Park,
     Morton Bay Marine Park (includes Pumicestone Passage,
     Tide analysis
     Water Quality (in conjunction w Healthy Land and Waters)
     Feedback enquiry form 

     13 74 68
     Sunshine Coast Council  Golden Beach foreshore
     Pelican waters canal estate
     Diamond Head foreshore
     Flooding in public lands
     Stormwater network
     Parks
     Customer.Service@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

     (07) 5475 7272
     Surf Lifesaving Queensland  Swimmer safety  info@lifesaving.com.au

     (07) 3846 8000
     Caloundra Coast Guard  Marine search and rescues  (07) 5491 3533
     State Emergency Services  Disaster assistance  132 500