Sand nourishment at Maroochydore Beach will aim to protect the area from the effects of severe weather.
We will trial a technique, called nearshore nourishment, which involves 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.
Have your say
Please complete the survey to let us know your views on the trial before Friday 9 December 2022.
The purpose of the trial is 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
After the nourishment operations have finished, we will monitor:
- the impacts on marine plants and the reef with divers
- the sand movement over time with hydrographic surveys
- the impacts to surf amenity through the University of the Sunshine Coast
- community sentiment on the technique.
We will share the outcomes of the trial when results become available.
How it works
A dredge – the TSHD Brisbane – will collect sand from the Spitfire Channel, in Moreton Bay, and transport it to Maroochydore Beach for release, using two methods.
One method may include dropping the sand from the bottom of the barge and the other will spray the sand in a rainbow shape into the water. The results of both methods will be monitored and compared.
The safety of our community is our first priority. To ensure the safety of beach and water users, exclusion zones will be set up when the dredge is operating in area.
We urge our community to please follow the instructions from council staff and lifeguards and read the signs when you are in the area before you access the beach and water.
These exclusion zones are for your safety and the success of the nourishment program.
Exclusions zones: during the seven days of the trial, and at different times of the day, parts of the beach and water will not be accessible. Sand placement will occur approximately every seven hours between BA151 – BA155.
Morning operations: in the mornings, if weather conditions are safe, the placement technique will be rainbowing. This means:
• an exclusion zone will be set up along the low tide area
• for three hours, from around 6.30am – 9.30am, there will be no water-based activities in the exclusion zone
• our community will need to walk around the exclusion zone and a diversion will be in place to guide them (along the high tide)
• they will still be able to access the water outside the water exclusion zone
• lifeguards will be onsite to let them know where these water exclusion zones will be
• they will be advised when they can enter the water again as plumes may impact the water area after the dredge has left the site
• we ask for patience as we need to wait for these plumes to settle before allowing water users back in the area.
Afternoon and night operations: in the afternoons and during the night, sand placement will be via bottom placement. This has less risk than rainbowing.
• the exclusion zone for the water will only be for one hour
• you will be able to walk along the lower tide mark during bottom placement activities.
Specific placement locations will be managed from day to day and will change according to conditions. All placement will occur between Beach Access 151 – Beach Access 155 (see attached map).
We have been working hard to trial placement shapes that may improve surf amenity along Maroochydore beach. We have been working 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 will also work 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.
The placement locations in the attached map have been determined through environmental approvals and are not subject to change for this trial. The sand is being 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 has also been placed in the water in a formation that will encourage sand migration towards the exposed beach.
Shark nets within the exclusion zone will be temporarily relocated 80 meters from their original location while the works are being conducted. For further information about the location of Shark Control Program equipment please visit https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/sharksmart/map.
These will be reinstated at the earliest time when it has 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.