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COASTAL MANAGEMENT FIELDWORK REPORT


BY ADAM JOVANOVIC, 10S, JUNE 2013

The subject of my research was the coast of Cronulla, visited as a part of our school field trip. The purpose of the research is to: - investigate the existing coastal threats, ie the factors impacting Cronullas coastal areas and their environmental, social and economic effect - Explore the available coastal management initiatives For this report, I have collected the necessary data - photographs, statistics and other available reports. I have also analysed structures built around the coastal areas of Cronulla including the dune replenishing, board and chain walkways, the sea bee wall and the revegetation of sand dunes.

Primary data was gathered through experiment and survey. Experiment involved the field measurement of the relevant meteorological parameters. Survey involved observation of the Cronulla coast. Secondary data was collected by obtaining relevant statistical information and studying the relevant Sutherland Shire report . Secondary data is needed to complement my primary data as well as assist with the intelligence otherwise difficult or impractical to collect. The data collected will help determine the impact of the given factors on increasing threats to the coast. On the day of my visit, I observed that the transportation of sand was directly proportionate to the wind strength. In other words, the wind was affecting the waves which, in turn, had constructive capabilities. The measured humidity was relatively high. This can cause the plants to have a weaker transpiration rate, resulting in stunted growth due to a lack of essential nutrients. Factor measured Wind Wind Air Air Light Rainfall Parameter Speed Direction Temperature Humidity Intensity Amount/year Instrument (source) used Anemometer Estimate Thermometer Hygrometer Photometer Internet Measurement 10.8 km/h Northerly 18 deg Celsius 74% 80,000 Lux 1145 Impact of the factor -Affects wave strength and direction -Erosion -Coastal process of transportation Affects wave direction Natural vegetation growth Plant transpiration Affects plant photosynthesis Provides living inhabitants of the area with moisture and water

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1. Erosion of sand from the beach The sand is very flexible. In the Bate Bay area, the sand absorbs large amounts of energy and as such acts as an energy dissipater during high winds, strong currents and tides, stormy and other adverse weather conditions. During this process, the sand becomes eroded from the beaches and deposited in the offshore area in the areas called offshore bars. During calm conditions, the sand is gradually returned to the beach but this process is much slower and depends mostly on the severity of the adverse conditions that impacted it in the first place.

2. Sand drift / dune destabilisation Sand drift is caused by the movement of the sand by wind. The easiest way to control this is by planting vegetation. The evidence of the sand drift is the formation of the rear dunes, as seen in the below photograph from 1974 (showing unvegetated front and rear dunes).

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Impact on Cronulla area Environmentally, as the beaches continue to erode and the coastline recedes, Cronulla area beaches will continue to narrow and steepen resulting in loss of beach amenity. Sand erosion may affect aquatic ecological systems. Socially, the loss of the coastline may force the residents to relocate; and, if unmanaged, the existing landscape character may lose its appeal and become less attractive for real estate purchase. Beaches as places of peace and tranquillity will become closer to the populated areas with accompanying noise and air pollution. Also, Botany bay areas are part of the Aboriginal and local heritage. Economically, the impact would be visible in the loss of the assets located in the affected areas. Also, the surface used for recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, is reduced, resulting in a decline in tourism income. The use of the management strategies may sometimes reduce the appeal of the beaches.

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1. Seawalls Seawall is a long wall used to stop the waves getting any further, thus preventing further sand erosion. It is usually built of concrete and as such is both an eye sore and environmentally inefficient. The seawalls have been built in Cronulla area since 1920s and, while fairly efficient at stopping the ocean advance, are easily undermined and have been proven prone to damage during major storm activity. In the Cronulla area, in recent years, a Sea Bee wall is used. Its purpose is the same but the design features rows of honeycomb-like holes which help to decrease wave power and reduce erosion. One of the few setbacks involves the large expense of forging it. The following drawing is of the Prince Street seawall from 1985/1986.

Below are the pictures of some past and current seawalls.

The stepped concrete seawall in front of Dunningham Park in the 1930s

Destruction of the stepped concrete seawall in front of Dunningham Park in 1946

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Collapse of the Cronulla seawall in 1950, with electric light poles being used as stays

Storm damage in front of Prince Street in 1974

View of exposed and damaged rock-filled baskets along toe of Prince Street seawall (2000)

Detail of the honeycomb type seawall

2. Dune revegetation This strategy is very popular and is designed to counteract the effect of sand drift and dune destabilisation. By planting more plants, the roots will stabilise the sand and protect it from further erosion. However, people would still walk over the vegetation so, for this reason, the board and chain walkway strategy assists protecting the vegetation. It involves a path through the dunes which would minimise harm to the surrounding vegetation. The walkway is often made up of wooden planks, and the vegetation was separated with a chain that ran from post to post. This setup provides convenient access to the beach, while minimising harm to the environment. In Cronulla, during our field trip, these board and chain walkways were visible on the way to the Kurnell Waste Management Plant. These strategies have a low maintenance cost, as activities can be run with the local community and surrounding areas to vegetate new areas. Similar ideas are carried out along the easyern coast of Australia. Below are the three historic photographs clearly showing the positive effect this strategy has on dune protection.

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Damaged dunes in 1974

Stabilisation work being carried out in 1983

Stabilised dunes in 1999

There are significant threats to the Cronulla coastal areas and their assets. Local government is working on addressing the issues in the area of coastal management. Both the short and the long term strategies are proven efficient but priority is given to the prevention of coastal erosion at times of great storms and adverse weather conditions. We, as the members of public, can do our best to assist these efforts by, for example, protecting the dune vegetation.

Reference Bate Bay Coastline Management Plan - Sutherland Shire Council. 2013. Bate Bay Coastline Management Plan - Sutherland Shire Council. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Environment/Waterways/Bate_Bay_Coastline_Management_P lan. [Accessed 14 June 2013]. Beach Erosion, 2013 . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/333685/Beach-erosion.pdf. [Accessed 15 June 2013].

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