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Quarry sand saving SA beaches

Quarry Sand

The SA government’s autumn beach restoration program began in March with replenishment of the Semaphore Park dune buffer and plans for future replenishments for Henley Beach, Henley Beach South and West Beach, with the program involving the use of quarry sand.

10,000 cubic metres of sand collected from the Semaphore breakwater have been contributed to the Semaphore Park dune buffer and to address low beach levels at Henley Beach and Henley Beach South, a total of 15,000 cubic metres of quarry sand have been delivered to the beaches.

West Beach will receive 50,000 cubic metres of quarry sand between April and June, which is in addition to the 50,000 cubic metres of sand that was delivered in spring 2022 to meet a SA government commitment to maintain West Beach.

The delivery of sand throughout the autumn season minimises both disruption to beachgoers during summer and disturbance to nesting shorebirds at the Torrens Outlet.

The Coast Protection Board and South Australian Government have actively managed Adelaide beaches for 50 years to make them more resilient to storm damage.

This has included trucking sand along the beach or via roads, or from other parts of the coastline.

The replenishment program is being undertaken alongside the work of a state government appointed independent advisory panel, that is undertaking the Adelaide Beach Management Review.

The scientific review is due to be completed by the end of 2023 and has the potential to contain information relevant to the benefit of the use of quarry sand in beaches.

Department for Environment and Water Coast and Marine Manager, Murray Townsend, said that adding large volumes of sand to the coastline would significantly improve the condition of the beaches.

“Strong winds, large waves and storm surges, especially in the winter months, causes erosion of Adelaide’s beaches, which is why sand movement works are required to manage those areas,” Townsend said.

“We’ve had considerable success with the delivery of quarry sand at West Beach over the past two years – it’s clearly improved the quality of the beach.

“Beach levels have partially recovered since the last winter storms but levels remain lower than usual in parts of Henley Beach so we are looking to replicate the West Beach success by delivering quarry sand to Henley.”

The role of the quarrying industry in supplying resources to aid in the upkeep of beaches is essential, as Townsend said that there exists a finite amount of sand in Adelaide’s beach system.

“Bringing in sand from external sources, as well as recycling sand from where it builds up along our coastline, is needed to retain Adelaide’s long, sandy beaches,” he said.

“It’s important that local residents are aware of the work to deliver sand over the coming months.”

The Department for Environment and Water monitors beaches and works closely with local councils, which are responsible for the day-to-day management of the coast and infrastructure, to determine where sand is needed.

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