THE City of Greater Geelong’s innovative approach to combating coastal erosion has been honoured with a national award.
The shellfish reef project at Portarlington recently received one of just five Australian Coastal Awards at an event in Kiama, New South Wales.
The City received the award for making a significant contribution to innovation in the coastal zone, having provided a low-cost and ‘soft’ engineering solution to preventing erosion.
Made up of 0.75-metre-high steel cages filled with rock and scallop shells, the 130-metre-long shellfish reef sits off the heavily impacted Ramblers Road foreshore.
After being seeded with tiny shellfish, known as mussel spat, the cages have attracted a range of macro algae, invertebrates and other shellfish.
The low-maintenance reef has been designed to reduce wave energy and erosion, with the potential to even help reclaim parts of the foreshore.
It has attracted widespread interest from other councils, proving cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods such as rock seawalls and groynes.
The project was led by the City’s senior environmental engineer Ralph Roob, who presented an overview of the initiative at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference.
“Congratulations to Ralph Roob and our environment team,” Cr Sarah Mansfield said.
“This is a brilliant initiative that benefits our coastline, residents, and the aquatic environment.
“It’s a great example of what can be delivered when we use partnerships between the City’s experts and universities to put science into practice.”