Representatives from Byron Shire Council are working with NSW Government agencies on the management of erosion on Main Beach and Clarkes Beach at Byron Bay.
This year there has been a large amount of sand scoured from the beaches and significant erosion of sand dunes.
This has resulted in a loss of the actual beaches with tides regularly pushing the ocean to the foot of the dunes.
Council’s Coastal and Biodiversity Coordinator, Chloe Dowsett, said the erosion has had a massive impact on the beaches.
“Coastal erosion is a natural event however due to the Byron’s location, particularly the position of Cape Byron and our north facing beaches processes such as erosion and recession is occurring at a significant rate,” Ms Dowsett said.
“Recession is an underlying long term erosional trend caused by an imbalance in what we call the ‘sediment budget’ with more sand leaving the area than returning,” she said.
“Several beaches in the Byron Shire have land assets or infrastructure in the immediate coastal hazard area or in close proximity including Belongil and New Brighton Beach as well as Clarkes Beach and Main Beach.
“At Clarkes Beach and Main Beach the erosion has been occurring for many months and a lot of vegetation, including large trees, has been lost, further destabilising the area. The primary source of this erosion is a lack of sand within the bay from a lack of consistent southerly swell over the last few years which enables long-shore transport of sand up the coast.
“Where possible, trees are being left on the beach to offer some small degree of protection from waves,” she said.
“Coastal erosion in the Byron Shire s is an enormously complex problem that involves a number of different stakeholders including Crown Lands, Reflections Holiday Park, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Marine Park Authority and we are working together,” Ms Dowsett said.
Council is working with all land managers but because coastal erosion is such a complex process there is no simple, immediate solution.
“In the meantime there is a big slug of sand that has moved around the Pass and this sand should eventually move onto Clarkes Beach and Main Beach,” Ms Dowsett said.
“People should keep away from the beach access paths and the foot of the dunes where they are unstable,” she said.
Information about coastal erosion is available on Council’s website.