Wye River erosion plan progress

January 10, 2022 BY

An eastward shift of Wye River’s estuary has eroded the area’s coast and threatened the town’s surf life saving club and caravan park. Photo: SUPPLIED

WYE River residents will soon get their first look at a long-awaited report about permanent solutions for coastal erosion at the town’s beach, which has rapidly impacted the coastline and threatened key community infrastructure.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA) have received an independent coastal engineer’s report that details a range of options to manage erosion at Wye River’s estuary mouth.

The state agencies are due to release the findings publicly and will consult key Wye River stakeholders at a drop-in session during January.

The report will also soon be open for public comment online as DELWP and GORCAPA develop the area’s Coastal Adaption Plan.

Wye River’s plan has been years in the making, as the eastward migration of the waterway’s estuary mouth has accelerated since 2019.

The change has caused significant erosion at the area’s coastal sand dunes, with GORCAPA observing 15 metres of shoreline loss in the past two years.

Parts of Wye River beach have closed intermittently in recent months for sand renourishment works to repair sand dunes from erosion impacts.

State authorities placed sandbags including three groynes at the area’s dune system earlier this year as a short-term measure to protect the Wye River Surf Life Saving Club, where infrastructure was under threat from continued erosion.

The club also had a new beach-access ramp installed in October that is relocatable and allows for sand and water flow, after its existing ramp collapsed following winter storms earlier in the year.

DELWP said it looked forward to forming and installing permanent fixes to protect the Wye River landscape.

“The actions we took earlier this year are working really well, with the rows of sandbags and sand bag groynes protecting the dunes in front of the surf club by redirecting the estuary and accumulating sand as a buffer,” a DELWP spokesperson said.

“In January (this) year, we’ll be doing further community consultation on medium and long-term options for the site via an online survey and an in person drop-in session in Wye River.”

Authorities said the adaptation plan would assess the causes of the estuary movement, and identify short and long-term options to manage erosion, ranging from ongoing sand management to hard, physical intervention.

The plan would also outline impacts of different measures on the local environment to strike a balance between a fix and preservation of the estuary’s surrounds.

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