Environment SA News

Dredging trial leads scientific approach to preserving Adelaide’s beaches

The State Government has committed to a sand dredging trial and a mass restoration of West Beach as part of works to preserve Adelaide’s spectacular coastline for everyone to enjoy.

Dredging trial leads scientific approach to preserving Adelaide’s beaches

The independent Adelaide Beach Management Review has recommended the Government further investigate if dredging can be a long-term, sustainable solution to maintaining beach levels by recycling sand that naturally drifts north along the coast.

The two-month trial will collect sand from a nearshore zone between Taperoo and North Haven and deliver it by boat to West Beach to help combat coastal erosion.

The health of West Beach will also be significantly bolstered with an extra 550,000 cubic metres (m3) of sand over the next five years, which was another key recommendation of the Adelaide Beach Management Review.

This sand will come from outside the existing beach system – either from quarries or viable offshore sources – massively improving sand levels and amenity at West Beach and Henley Beach South.

The Government has budgeted $20.7 million in 2024/25 for Adelaide beach management works, which will be led by the Department for Environment and Water.

This will include scientific and environmental analysis of the dredging trial and extensive community consultation.

The trial is planned to be completed by early November 2024, pending approvals and the availability of dredging vessels.

Natural sand drift means recycling sand within Adelaide’s beach system is vital to avoid some of our much-loved coastline eroding to rock and clay.

The Adelaide Beach Management Review considered three main options for recycling sand: dredging, truck movements and constructing a pipeline between Largs Bay and West Beach.

Dredging received the strongest community support during consultation last year.

It also has the potential to cause less disruption to the community by reducing the amount of machinery and trucks on beaches and avoiding a build-up of sand near the North Haven Marina.

Boat access to North Haven Marina and West Beach Boat Ramp is not expected to be affected during the trial, but there will be an exclusion zone around the dredging equipment.

Temporary restrictions to beach access at West Beach may be required for safety reasons when trialling methods to deliver the sand.

The trial, which will require Environment Protection Authority approval, will monitor environmental impacts of dredging, including water quality, to avoid effects on seagrasses.

Up to 200,000m3 of quarry sand will be delivered to West Beach by truck over the next 12 months while the department investigates viable offshore sand sources. The Department for Environment and Water will work with key stakeholders to co-ordinate the delivery of the sand.

Department for Environment and Water Senior Policy Officer Nicole Pelton said delivering a significant amount of sand to West Beach would combat erosion, protect infrastructure and improve amenity for coastal communities.

"The Adelaide Beach Management Review identified dredging as a possible long-term solution to recycling sand along our coast between North Haven and West Beach," she said

"The dredging trial is an important step to determine the best way to preserve our beaches, while minimising disruption to the community and protecting the environment."

The latest commitment is in addition to the 50,000m3 of quarry sand delivered to West Beach this autumn and the 100,000m3 of sand delivered in 2023.

For more information on the dredging trial and the findings of the Adelaide Beach Management Review, visit Department for Environment and Water - Adelaide Beach Management…