Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project

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

Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project

The 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™.

Project update – May 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.

During the month of May, the City's project team continue community consultation and preparatory works, including environmental monitoring and completion of an Environmental Management Plan.

Surveying of the seabed will continue this month and dredging and beach nourishment works are scheduled to commence in June 2017.

A schedule of the works will be regularly published and updated on this webpage when the project commences.

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 1960’s. 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:

Beach Nourishment - Before

Before nourishment works
Narrowneck, 1998, low tide

Beach Nourishment - After

After nourishment works

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