Sandsational project a first for the Sunshine Coast
  • Wednesday 26 October 2022
Ship rainbowing sand in ocean

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 our 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 our 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.

Strict safety measures will be in place on the beach and in the water during the trial for everyone’s protection. Visitors to the area are asked to follow council and lifeguard instructions.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy guided council’s work to manage our region’s beaches from the risk of future coastal erosion.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes over several years to inform the long-term management of our coastline,” Cr Cox said.

“We are using coastal data captured through wave buoys, beach surveys, hydrographic surveys, ecological monitoring, and wind data to shape the project.

“This is in addition to studies that have shown there is a limited supply of sand on the Sunshine Coast.”

Cr Cox said 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,” Cr Cox said.

“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.”

Cr Cox said 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,” Cr Cox said.

“This will confirm the effectiveness of this well-established methodology to enable us to use it in the future if we need to.”

Surf amenity will be a consideration throughout the trial.

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.

All necessary environmental approvals are being progressed for the trial to be conducted.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the trial, please visit council’s website and search for ”Maroochydore nearshore beach nourishment trial”.