Environmental News

Quarried sand key to Adelaide beach preservation plans

Quarried sand is expected play a key role in the conservation of Adelaide’s beaches after the state government released an independent review of its beach management. 

The review recommended a two month dredging program to confirm whether dredging can be used as a long-term, sustainable solution to recycling sand that drifts north along the coast. 

The two-month dredging program will collect sand from a nearshore zone between Taperoo and North Haven and deliver it by barge to West Beach where it will be pumped near the shoreline to wash onto the beach. 

Boat access to North Haven Marina and West Beach Boat Ramp is not expected to be affected during the trial, but there will be an exclusion zone around the dredge. 

In addition to the expected 90,000m3 from the dredging program, West Beach and Henley Beach South will be significantly bolstered with a further 200,000m3 of sand over the next 12 months. 

This is in line with the independent review’s recommendation for an extra 550,000m3 of sand over the next five years. 

This sand will come from outside the existing beach system – either from quarries or viable offshore sources – significantly improving sand levels and amenity at West Beach and Henley Beach South. 

“The State Government is taking a scientific approach to keeping sand on Adelaide’s beaches, which are used all year round by thousands of locals and tourists,” South Australian Attorney-General Kyam Maher said. 

“Delivering this significant amount of sand to West Beach and Henley Beach South will combat erosion, protect infrastructure and improve amenity to support coastal communities and businesses. 

“The independent Adelaide Beach Management Review recommended investigating dredging as a long-term solution to recycling sand along our coast. 

“This option is less expensive for taxpayers, community consultation found it was the most preferred option and it is much less disruptive for residents.”  

Temporary restrictions to beach access may be required for safety reasons when delivering the sand as has previously been done when delivering sand. 

The Department for Environment and Water, the agency responsible for managing beach sand, will also investigate other viable offshore sand sources for the ongoing replenishment works. 

The department will also conduct scientific and environmental analysis of the dredging and provide extensive community consultation. 

As part of seeking approval from the Environment Protection Authority, that agency will also monitor the environmental impacts of dredging, including water quality to avoid effects on seagrasses. 

The Government has committed a total of $20.6 million in 2024-25 for the beach management works. Dredging is scheduled to be completed by early November 2024, pending relevant approvals and the availability of dredging vessels. 

“This dredging program is an important step to determine the best way to preserve our beaches, while minimising disruption to the community and protecting the environment,” Maher said. 

“The Government will continue to follow the science and listen to community feedback as we deliver on our commitment to maintain Adelaide beaches.” 

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