Project Overview

Sand nourishment at Maroochydore Beach aims to protect the area from the effects of severe weather.

We trialed a technique, called nearshore nourishment, which involved importing sand from outside the region and placing it in the water, about 300m off the beach.

Waves, currents and tides will then deposit the sand onto our beaches providing an additional buffer to future storms and coastal erosion.

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Project overview

The purpose of the trial was to understand if the process could be viable for placing larger quantities of sand in the future and to understand community views on the technique.

There are benefits to using nearshore nourishment, compared to our usual beach placement technique. The time it takes to place 40,000m3 of sand onto the beach for nearshore nourishment is seven days whereas it would take up to six weeks using beach placement. There is less machinery on the beach and no dredge operating in the Maroochy River. This means significantly less impact on, and inconvenience to, our community.

Maroochydore Nearshore Beach Nourishment Trial

Project outcomes

Following a review of the data, Sunshine Coast Council has concluded that it did produce an increase in sand on the Maroochydore beach.

It found the technique could potentially be used on a larger scale for future nourishment campaigns along Maroochydore Beach and in other coastal locations.

For more information please read a summary of the findings and the expert consultants final report.


How it worked

A dredge – the TSHD Brisbane – collected sand from the Spitfire Channel, in Moreton Bay, and transported it to Maroochydore Beach for release, using two methods.

One method included dropping the sand from the bottom of the barge and the other sprayed the sand in a rainbow shape into the water. The results of both methods will be monitored and compared.


The safety of our community was our first priority. To ensure the safety of beach and water users, exclusion zones were set up when the dredge was operating in area.

We urged our community to please follow the instructions from council staff and lifeguards and read the signs when they were in the area before they accessed the beach and water.

These exclusion zones were for your safety and the success of the nourishment program.

Surf amenity

We worked hard to trial placement shapes that may improve surf amenity along Maroochydore beach. We worked with engineers who were a part of the Gold Coast Nourishment campaign for the Commonwealth Games to learn from their placement techniques so that Maroochydore can have the best chance of improved surf amenity.

We also worked with the University of the Sunshine Coast to analyse the surf before, during and after the placement to see if surf amenity has improved.

Further information about this study will be published on our website when the results are in.

Placement locations

The placement locations in the attached map were determined through environmental approvals and were not subject to change for this trial. The sand was released in a specific location to try and increase sand on Maroochydore Beach while complying with our environment approval. This approval specified that an exclusion zone was required between the placement area and the reef that sits off Alexandra Headland. Sand was also placed in the water in a formation that will encourage sand migration towards the exposed beach.

Shark nets within the exclusion zone were temporarily relocated 80 meters from their original location while the work was conducted. For further information about the location of Shark Control Program equipment please visit

These were reinstated after the trial had finished.

All safety and project information

All information about the safety requirements and trial details are on our website and we will continue to update it as we are able to.

After the trial, we monitored:

  • the impact on marine plants and the reef with divers
  • the sand movement over time with hydrographic surveys
  • the impact to surf amenity through the University of the Sunshine Coast
  • community sentiment on the technique.

We then shared the outcomes of the trial via a report.