Cliff erosion at St Leonards

Bellarine Bayside has been monitoring the ongoing erosion along the part of the foreshore in the vicinity of First Avenue. There is evidence of cliff instability and recent and ongoing cliff falls. In response to increased risk to the public and the advice of geotechnical experts a sand fence was installed in early December 2013 to mitigate the coastal erosion and ensure the safe access along the beach for the public.

Sand fencing is a low impact, cost-effective tool for managing coastal erosion which has been used for centuries around the world. Importantly sand fencing, once it has achieved its purpose, can be easily removed.

The sand fence is a permeable barrier, made out of natural timber, which does two things:

1. it reduces the embodied energy of the wave meaning the wave is far less likely to erode the cliffs, and

2. over time sand is deposited back on the beach, which in turn, will protect the toe of the cliffs.

While the sand fence is primarily designed to mitigate coastal erosion it will also ensure the public are kept well clear of the eroding cliffs.

This technique, although successful at other parts of the Bellarine Peninsula, has not been tried on this stretch of coastline, therefore Bellarine Bayside views this as a trial and will monitor its effectiveness accordingly.

The sand fence may need to be left in place for a number of years in order to fully stabilise the beach. While the fence will be located parallel and as close as possible to the cliffs, the fence will restrict some access along the beach, especially at higher tides.

For more information please contact Nick Wynn, Manager Planning and Major Projects on 03 5254 4013.




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