Dune rehabilitation and revegetation

The Coast Protection Board undertook widespread dune stabilisation work in the 1970s when large dune areas were affected by wind-blown sand drift.

In recent times, local councils carry out dune management which includes:

  • drift fencing
  • dune revegetation
  • controlling access to dunes
  • installation of educational signs and viewing areas at some locations.

Council contractors and volunteer dune care groups carry out dune revegetation and weeding programs.

Drift fencing and dune revegetation prevent the loss of wind-blown sand inland and help with dune stability. They can do little to prevent sand being eroded by waves and water during storms. Without the beach replenishment program, even well vegetated dunes would erode away on the southern parts of the coast.

Therefore, the Coast Protection Board's primary focus in managing Adelaide's beaches is on beach replenishment. This not only ensures that there is enough sand along the coast but enables dunes to form in the first place.

It is true that when sand is removed from beaches for recycling purposes, dunes may be eroded and dune vegetation disrupted. It is, however, important to realise that most of the pre-European dunes along the Adelaide coast have been covered with development.

The only large areas of remnant vegetation are the Tennyson and Minda dunes. These are the only dune areas in the metropolitan region that can be managed for their landscape, cultural and conservation values. It is because these dunes are predominantly land-facing that they have survived so long.

In recently formed dune areas (eg at the Torrens Outlet and Semaphore), the majority of the vegetation is non-indigenous, of low ecological significance, and often weed-infested. The primary role of these dunes is to provide reserves for sand recycling and to buffer coastal infrastructure from the sea. These dunes need to be vegetated to prevent wind-blown sand drift which also makes them a habitat for dune flora and fauna. Even so, it must be recognised that the seaward portions of these dunes could be eroded away at any time in a storm event.

Artificially moving sand from one beach to another attempts to improve the overall extent and health of the beach system for the entire Adelaide coast. Where possible, the land-facing portions of dunes that buffer storm damage are rehabilitated or preserved in line with coastal vegetation management plans developed by the Urban Forest Million Trees Program in conjunction with local councils.

More information 

Refer to our reference material page.