Expert explores erosion options

THE Coastal Communities Protection Alliance in Wooli has been given more fuel for its argument to deal with the coastal erosion issues plaguing the community in a way other than Clarence Valley Council’s planned retreat option.

Dr Shaw Mead, director of international consultancy ASR, spent several days at the beachside village assessing the potential for protective measures for the dune system and Wooli Wooli River mouth, which suffered degradation from severe weather events and changes in sand movement during past years.

Dr Mead had discussions with part-time Wooli resident Dr Tim Heldt and several long-term Wooli residents who have seen changes in the beach and dune system over a long period.

Dr Heldt is a senior structural engineer and heads Wooli’s Coastal Communities Protection Alliance engineering and research team.

Dr Mead concluded that more informed scientific modelling data is needed before specific solutions could be proposed. But he observed the rock wall on the southern end of the beach may be influencing sand movement and that appropriate dune vegetation would significantly and economically enhance sand retention.

“It was encouraging to hear from Shaw that there is an abundance of sand in the Wooli beach system compared with some sites suffering from beach erosion,” said Dr Heldt.

“He said that we can build dunes faster than the sea can take them away. This is a beautiful summary of a protective strategy for Wooli.”

On Friday, February 25, Dr Mead and Dr Heldt presented preliminary findings to senior Clarence Valley Council management staff.

“They have indicated willingness to work with CCPA at identifying ways to address Wooli’s short-, medium- and long-term challenges,” said Dr Heldt.

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