Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project

Ensuring our beaches are clean, healthy, safe and accessible now and into the future.

Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project

City of Gold Coast is delivering a major beach nourishment project from June to October 2017. The Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project (GCBNP) aims to increase the volume of sand available along vulnerable sections of our coastline to buffer against future storms and coastal erosion.

The GCBNP is part of the Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013-2023, ensuring our beaches are clean, healthy, safe and accessible now and into the future. It will also ensure that our beaches will be in the best possible condition for the 2018 Commonwealth Games™.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about our beach nourishment project below.

Beach nourishment schedule

Date Location
Friday 23 June No work period
Saturday 24 June Palm Beach - Palm Beach Avenue (potential for standby time during this day)
Sunday 25 June Palm Beach - Eleventh Avenue
Monday 26 June Palm Beach - Eleventh Avenue
Tuesday 27 June Palm Beach - Seventeenth Avenue
Wednesday 28 June Palm Beach - Seventeenth Avenue
Thursday 29 June Palm Beach - Seventeenth Avenue
Friday 30 June Miami - Hythe Street

*This is an estimated schedule. Works are weather dependent.

Beach nourishment progress by suburb

Surfers Paradise

Nourishment update at Surfers Paradise (Southern Narrowneck Carpark to First Avenue)

Sand nourishment is 0 per cent complete as of 14 June 2017.

Safety message: Please keep clear of the dredge vessel and associated works.

Broadbeach

Nourishment update at Broadbeach (Wharf Road to Ventura Road)

Sand nourishment is 0 per cent complete as of 14 June 2017.

Safety message: Please keep clear of the dredge vessel and associated works.

Mermaid Beach

Nourishment update at Mermaid Beach (Cronulla Avenue to Chairlift Avenue East)

Sand nourishment is 0 per cent complete as of 14 June 2017.

Safety message: Please keep clear of the dredge vessel and associated works.

Miami Beach

Nourishment update at Miami Beach (Chairlift Avenue East to Sixth Avenue)

Sand nourishment is 0 per cent complete as of 14 June 2017.

Safety message: Please keep clear of the dredge vessel and associated works.

Palm Beach

Find out the latest information for beach nourishment progress on Palm Beach.


Project update – June 2017

An international dredging and beach nourishment tender was advertised from October to November 2016. The contract was awarded to RN Dredging Pty Ltd in March 2017.

The surveying of the seabed has begun and will continue during the works.

The beach nourishment works are scheduled to take place from mid-June to mid-October 2017.

Sand will be placed in two locations:

  1. Sand will be placed in shallow areas around the wave breaking zone. This type of nourishment will have an effect on beach widening following placement, and will have the greatest influence on surfing amenity. Sand will be placed in patterns to replicate natural rhythmic sand bar formations.
  2. Sand will be placed further offshore in deeper areas. This nourishment will move more slowly with natural processes, and provide a long term benefit for coastal protection by increasing the volume of sand along the coastline.

Beach nourishment history

The Gold Coast beaches have endured a number of significant storm events in recorded history which have often resulted in serious coastal erosion. Analysis of 40 years of historical monitoring data has concluded that this vulnerability to erosion and storm damage will not be mitigated through natural sand movement alone.

Beach nourishment projects have been undertaken on the Gold Coast since the 1960s. They are designed to mimic natural coastal processes and allow sand to shift continuously in response to changing waves and water levels.

Nourishment locations

Identified locations for beach nourishment as part of the GCBNP are Palm Beach and along northern Gold Coast beaches from Miami to Main Beach.

Click to enlarge

Gold Coast beach nourishment project - Palm Beach

GCBNP Palm Beach

Gold Coast beach nourishment project - Miami to Main Beach

GCBNP Miami to Main Beach

Project aims

The objective of the Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project is to provide a cost effective, innovative, environmentally and socially acceptable solution to maintain a suitable beach width to buffer future erosion impact. The project aims to:

  • reduce the vulnerability of the beach and beachfront development to storm damage
  • protect, and if practical enhance the beach amenity for the community
  • provide a sustainable, cost effective solution
  • avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts.

Project method

Survey vessel

Numerous studies have informed the project design, such as the study of coastal data captured through wave buoys, beach surveys, camera monitoring and computer modelling.

A survey vessel (pictured) will be working at Palm Beach and from Miami to Main Beach from April to October. This vessel will be surveying the level of the sea bed and monitoring the sand placed by the dredge as the project progresses.

A ‘design with nature’ approach is being taken to deliver the Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project. The solution involves a specialised dredge vessel transferring sand from our offshore sand reserves and placing it around the nearshore wave breaking zone.

The sand will be collected from our offshore sand reserves and distributed around the wave breaking zone by bottom dumping and rainbowing. Bottom dumping is where the collected sand is deposited to the wave breaking zone through the vessel hull. Rainbowing is where the sand is projected from the bow of the vessel to the wave breaking zone as a sand/water mixture.

Post sand placement

The additional sand that is deposited around the wave breaking zone will not be placed directly on the dry beach. This sand will move with the coast’s natural processes over time, adding extra sand supply to our beaches and acting as a natural buffer during storms.

This nearshore beach nourishment technique has a proven successful history on Gold Coast beaches.

Stakeholder engagement

A comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan continues to be delivered as part of this project. A number of stakeholder meetings have taken place with key stakeholders including a selection of community group leaders who have represented their members. The meetings have provided an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and for the project team to respond to, and address any issues while informing stakeholders about the need for the project and method of delivery.

Evan Thomas
President Miami Beach Surf Life Saving Club

"I am OK with the project. It is well planned and will provide added protection to the City's ocean beaches.

The meeting was very useful for the clubs to learn about the project and potential impacts and advice needed to provide to members to ensure safety. In addition the project as we were able to provide advice to the team on the best person to contact to ensure communications with clubs is rapid when required. We also identified key dates and activities that will be occurring during the project that will need to be managed."


James Brooks
President Mermaid Nobbys Miami Boardriders Club Inc

"I feel encouraged by the prospect of having additional good quality sandbanks which will provide better quality waves. Understanding that the initial purpose of the nourishment program is geared towards foreshore stabilisation/protection but are all hopeful of a win-win.

As far as the entire nourishment program is concerned we are all hopeful of achieving the projected outcomes. However, there is a collective of members who display strong scepticism regarding the power of the ocean and its ability to undo what has been put in place.

All members have been encouraged to access the web site as to get a better understanding of the project."

More information

For more information on the Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project, email: beachnourishment@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

Beach Nourishment - Before

Before nourishment works
Narrowneck, 1998, low tide

Beach Nourishment - After

After nourishment works



Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project - footage courtesy of Nine Gold Coast News

Jump to key information
  • How long will the dredge be operating on the Gold Coast?

    The dredge will be operating from 16 June 2017 until mid-October 2017.

  • What is beach nourishment?

    Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach replenishment) is the process by which sand is added to the beach from other locations. The sand acts as a buffer that provides protection from coastal erosion during weather events.

  • Won’t the sand wash away in the first storm?

    Following storm events beaches typically experience erosion, where sand is moved from the top of the beach into deeper water. This sand is not lost, and moves slowly back to the top of the beach under calmer conditions. On the Gold Coast, sand is naturally transported from south to north. This means during storm events the sand will naturally redistribute along our beaches.

  • How much is the City spending on beach nourishment?

    The City is committed to ensuring our beach amenity is maintained and that our infrastructure is protected from coastal hazards. The City will be investing $13.9 million dollars to undertake these nourishment works using a specialist beach nourishment contractor.

  • What does the beach nourishment project involve?

    The project will involve offshore dredging by a specialised vessel. The vessel will take approximately three million cubic metres of clean sand from our offshore sand reserve closer to the shoreline in order to restore, protect and widen the beach. The nourishment will provide enhanced beach amenity for the Gold Coast community, and increase shoreline protection to withstand high energy weather events.

  • What is sand rainbowing?

    Sand rainbowing is where a sand/water mixture is projected from the bow of the vessel and placed close to the wave breaking zone.

  • How will I be impacted by this project?

    The vessel will operate 24 hours a day for about 16 weeks and will nourish our most vulnerable beaches. This will have minimal impact on beach users. Ocean users are prohibited from going near the dredge and associated works for safety reasons.

  • Is this method safe for marine wildlife?

    The project has been assessed by federal and state governmental agencies to make sure it meets strict environmental approval requirements under the environmental legislation. This includes assessment under the Environmental Protections and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to ensure the activity is safe for marine wildlife, and the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 to ensure that the work will not negatively impact our coastal environment.

  • Will water quality be affected by this project?

    This activity will not affect the water quality; however there may be localised, temporary changes in water clarity where the sand is being placed. These changes are typically less noticeable than those seen during large rainfall or swell events.

  • Where will the sand be placed?

    Sand will be placed in two locations:

    1. Sand will be placed in shallow areas around the wave breaking zone. This type of nourishment will have an immediate effect on beach widening, and will have the greatest influence on surfing amenity. Sand will be placed in patterns to replicate natural rhythmic sand bar formations, which are known to improve surfing opportunities.

    2. Sand will be placed further offshore in deeper areas. This nourishment will move more slowly with natural processes, and provide a long-term benefit for coastal protection by increasing the total volume of sand along the coastline.

  • How long will it take for the sand to move around (response cycle)?

    Generally, sand moves at different rates depending on where it is in the beach profile (above and below the surf zone). The sand deposited around the wave breaking zone is expected to move onshore within weeks, whereas the sand deposited offshore in deeper areas could take months or years.

  • How does this project link to the Gold Coast Surf Management Plan?

    As part of the planning and design phase for the nourishment works, the City has investigated how sand can be placed to mimic natural sand bar formations known to promote good surfing conditions. The placement of sand by the contractor will use patterns that mimic these natural sand bars.

  • How much sand will be placed each week and where?

    The amount of sand placed each week will depend on weather conditions. Please keep an eye on our website for an updated schedule. It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 cubic metres will be deposited each week.

  • What impacts/benefits will the sand provide long term?

    The sand will provide the beach with long-term protection from storm events.

  • Are there safety issues for ocean users while the works are undertaken?

    The dredge will be operating under local laws and regulations which include safety requirements. The project is working to a safety management plan which addresses safety risks. All ocean users are urged to stay away from the dredge at all times.

  • What is the effect on boat users?

    There will be a large dredge vessel operating in compliance with maritime safety laws within Queensland. Boat users are urged to stay well away from the dredge for safety reasons.

  • What are the impacts for sharks and marine life when there’s turbid water?

    Turbidity is temporary and short term. Comparatively, the dredge will produce far less turbidity than you see after rain events or prolonged northerly wave conditions.

  • Will rips and currents form as a result of operation?

    The sand placement will replicate natural sand bar formations - it will not create excessive rips or currents.

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