Coast takes a battering
By EMMA CORNFORD and ADRIAN MILLER
HUGE seas predicted after last week's rain have failed to eventuate, giving beaches along the Clarence Coast a reprieve from erosion caused throughout the deluge.
While the swell was up along the coast, tides never reached the five-metres predicted.
Angourie Coast Care Group project co-ordinator John Webber said beaches at Angourie had fared well, with practically no damage done.
"There hasn't been anything noticeable around the Point," Mr Webber said.
"There has been some exposed coffee rock at Back Beach, but nothing threatening or severe.
"The swell wasn't big enough or long enough and the direction might have had something to do with it as well.
"All dunes appear stable and they seem to have withheld the onslaught well."
While dunes came through relatively unscathed, the same cannot be said for popular coastal walking tracks. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have closed the Angourie Walk in Yuraygir National Park after the recent heavy rainfalls eroded the track.
NPWS Ranger Jennifer Kingston said the rain had washed away large sections of the walkway, rendering it unsafe.
Only the northern section between the Back Beach stairs and Shelley Beach will be closed, with the Shelley Headland camping area still accessible from the southern Lake Arragan end of the Angourie Walk.
Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority regional facilitator Russ Glover said Turners and Pippi beaches in Yamba normally experienced some erosion in high seas, but had been well protected.
"What you have is incipient dunes, which are the small, lumpy dunes that build up when it's calm, and they are essentially the first line of defence and get taken away in high seas," he said.
Wooli Dune Care group president Bruce Bird said seas were nowhere near the five metres predicted.
"Seas simply weren't that big. It didn't do anything to the beach," he said.
"We were quite fearful of losing more off the beach but there was no erosion at all."
As well as smaller seas than expected, new erosion fences installed along the dunes at Wooli may have played a role.
"To some extent they worked in that the wind blows and they catch the loose sand so that was good," Mr Bird said.
The fences are constructed in large, pig wire squares with barrier mesh on the inner side.
Regional Coastcare facilitator Brian Hughes said the fences were there to help build up the dunes.
"It helps so that when there are big seas the extra sand is there and stops them eating away at the older dunes," Mr Hughes said.
"When there's more sand there we can then work at restoring the dunes ... by planting vegetation and that kind of thing."
He said there were two types of fence at Wooli ? a wash-under fence and a fixed fence.