Project combating coastal erosion wins state award

The Ramblers Reef Foreshore project has received a second award for its clever and creative solution to combat coastal erosion and inundation on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The project received top honours at the 2020 Victorian Marine and Coastal Awards, taking out the Leadership in Climate Adaptation and Resilience Award – presented by Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

This is the second award for the Ramblers Reef Foreshore project, which received the Australian Coastal Award for Innovation in 2019.

Installed at Ramblers Road foreshore at Portarlington in 2018, the project included work both on and offshore to address significant coastal erosion and sand movement.

Low-lying land between residential properties and the beach was raised, with swales or depressions planted using native ground covers and rushes. The shared path was also reconstructed and reinforced to provide further protection.

Using creative design, a 130-metre long artificial reef was constructed offshore with cages containing rock and recycled shells that would have otherwise been disposed of in landfill.

The reef was designed to reduce wave energy, allowing the beach to stabilise and prevent further coastal erosion. Over time the cages will corrode, leaving a mostly natural reef behind.

Since its installation, the project has increased beach and foreshore habitat and helped to decrease coastal inundation events. In addition to the developing reef habitat, seagrass is thriving again in the shallow waters.

A section of the beach adjacent to the reef has also widened by over 20 metres due to the reef’s wave “shadowing” effect that allows sand to settle and accumulate.

To ‘Protect, enhance and restore our region’s biodiversity’ is one of the key goals outlined in the City’s Environment Strategy 2020-2030. The strategy is driven by a two-year action plan, which was a key action from the Sustainability Framework recently adopted by Council.

The Ramblers Reef Foreshore project was delivered by the City’s Environment and Waste team in partnership with the University of Melbourne, National Centre for Coasts and Climate, and the Port Phillip EcoCentre along with support from local residents.

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