Maroochydore Sand Renourishment
  • Last updated:
  • 04 Aug 2021

The last campaign to replenish the sand on Maroochydore Beach was undertaken from February to mid-March 2021. This was primarily in response to the most recent erosion event, which occurred in mid-December 2020.

Project scope

Maroochydore Beach is prone to natural erosion events. Council uses sand from the Maroochy River to widen and restore the Maroochydore Beach, to provide long-term protection of the foreshore and important community assets such as roads, parks and playgrounds, as well as to support events, such as the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, which bring economic and community value to the region.

Widening Maroochydore Beach will increase the distance between roads, paths and buildings, and areas where dunes are damaged. Sand is taken from the lower Maroochy River and delivered to the beach via a pipeline.

Project update 

A small cutter suction dredge extracted 20,000 cubic metres of sand from the lower Maroochy River and pumped it to Maroochydore Beach. The project used an existing pipeline that has been in place since 2013.

A booster pump assisted to push sand up the entire length of the beach. To minimise noise impacts, the pump was in an insulated storage container in the south east corner of the car park at the end of Cotton Tree Parade and Memorial Avenue and operated between 7am and 6pm week days.

Overview

Without enough sand on Maroochydore Beach, roads and pathways, parks and buildings could be damaged. There are a number of important aspects of this project:

  • Sand is placed on the beach in a number of ongoing operations.
  • Native shrubs are planted after the sand is placed on the beach, to stabilise the dunes.
  • There were minimal environmental impacts.
  • Dredging occurred outside the main shorebird migration period between October and April.
  • Dredging met all environmental conditions of the government permits.
  • Sand was placed on the beach using a dredge, pipeline and booster pumps. The pipeline will stay on the beach for future sand replacement projects.

Coastal engineering consultants provided information that this project is a suitable interim erosion protection measure. Council consulted environmental groups, businesses and community groups about this project.

View the approved development permit for Maroochy Beaches and River dredging and beach nourishment.

For more information, view the list of frequently asked questions.

Background

The Sunshine Coast has approximately 60 kilometres of coastline, stretching from Caloundra to Peregian Beach. Our beaches are vulnerable to erosion during storms, swells and weather events.

Council's Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP), adopted in 2014, guides our foreshore management. It outlines preferred management options that are underpinned by sound science, coastal engineering principles and our community values.

Guided by this plan, about every two years, council replenishes the sand on Maroochydore Beach to improve beach amenity and provide long-term protection of the foreshore and important community assets such as roads, park and playgrounds.

Dredging and sand distribution has been completed for 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 supported by revegetation works to help strengthen the dunes.

Additional sand will be placed on Maroochydore Beach as part of the ongoing stages of this project. 

The pattern of shoreline erosion on Maroochydore Beach is typical of most sandy beaches in South East Queensland: 

  • Major beach erosion occurs when storms produce extreme sea levels and waves. This is more likely to occur during the summer months and the cyclone season.
  • Sand eroded from the beach during a storm is stored offshore and much of this sand slowly moves back onshore during calmer conditions, typically during the winter months.
  • Recovery from severe erosion can take many years and sometimes relies on extended periods of relatively calm conditions.

Beach protection

There are important public buildings, road, paths, and parks at risk without sufficient sand on Maroochydore Beach. These include:

  • Aerodrome Road/Alexandra Parade (State controlled road)
  • Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club, the parks around it and the skate park (currently protected by a decaying sea wall)
  • Sea Breeze Caravan Park
  • Maroochydore Surf Club
  • public space including pedestrian and cycle pathways
  • beach access locations.

Maroochydore Beach needs to be around 50 metres wide to protect these areas during an extreme storm. Some areas of Maroochydore Beach have eroded to less than 20 metres.

Protecting Maroochy River and wildlife

Council will monitor the beach to measure the success of these ongoing works. Future sand replacement will only be considered if these initial works do not cause damage to the Maroochy River or wildlife.

Contacts

For more information, please contact council.