Project: Managing erosion of Long Beach and the impact on Bay Road
Timeframe: April 2022 until works are complete
Cost and funding:
Council will fund the initial short-term emergency works.
Council will seek funding for long-term solutions.
The NSW Government is providing $5M to be shared between three coastal management projects.
Last updated: August 2023
Latest news: August 2023
We've finished the medium-term works! The geo-textile sandbag structure is now doing its job, protecting the shoreline and shoring up Bay Road against potential collapse. We hope to keep it in place until we can get onto the more permanent solution.
We are working to:
reduce the likelihood of further erosion
protect Bay Road from collapse
keep the Norfolk Island pine trees.
Benefits to the community:
access to the beach
continued access to private properties
maintained visual amenity.
In April 2022, an east coast low caused significant erosion of the Long Beach coastline. A section of the beach and grassed area washed away right up to the road running alongside the beach. Bay Road became vulnerable and likely to collapse in future storms or high seas.
Bay Road is dangerously close to the foreshore
High seas washed away the grass right up to the road
The ocean washed away sand leaving a beach of rocks
The road is critical for vehicles to access beachside properties. To protect the area, we began planning emergency works straight away. We had to apply for many approvals from various NSW Government agencies before work could begin. Obtaining permission to undertake short and medium-term emergency works was a complex process that took considerable time.
In May 2023 high seas caused more damage, exposing the edge of Bay Road cul-de-sac.
Short-term emergency works
The NSW Government’s Resilience and Coastal Hazards State Environmental Planning Policy allows two short-term options:
beach nourishment, also called beach scraping.
To gain approval for the emergency works, we worked with various NSW Government agencies including:
Department of Planning and Environment
Batemans Marine Park Authority; and
Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries.
The emergency works needed an environmental assessment, called a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. We prepared an REF to help reduce the likelihood of any unintended negative impacts.
In July 2022, after acquiring necessary approvals, we placed sandbags along the beach in the affected area. The large sandbags were filled with imported sand of a compatible nature. Butted up together, they act as a buffer against immediate wave impact to the road.
Large sandbags were installed to take the brunt of the waves
The sandbags were a temporary measure and NSW legislation only allowed them to remain in place for 90 days.
In September 2022, we acquired necessary approvals to undertake beach nourishment works. This process involves taking sand from one location and placing it in the impacted area. In October we used heavy machinery to scrape a 300mm layer of sand from the southern end of Long Beach and push it against the eroded area.
An excavator loads a truck with sand at the southern end of Long Beach
Sand is piled up and ready to be spread out in the eroded areas
A bulldozer pushed sand into the eroded area next to Bay Road
The Department of Planning and Environment has advised that the method of sourcing sand over a large, shallow area is consistent with the approach taken by neighbouring councils. The southern end of the beach is replenishing through the natural sand movement associated with longshore drift.
The sand is providing a berm and is acting as a buffer while we look at long-term solutions.
Norfolk Island pine trees
The roots of large Norfolk Island pine trees on Bay Road were exposed by beach erosion. Council’s arborist assessed the trees and found them to be in good health. The root exposure did not represent a significant risk to tree health or to stability.
We provided protection against further erosion around the trees by covering the exposed roots with sand sourced from the southern end of the beach. Our arborist will reinspect the trees if any changes become apparent.
Open Coast Coastal Management Program
We prepared an Open Coast Coastal Management Program (CMP) to:
examine the impact of coastal hazards
consider options to address erosion risks.
We have outlined the long-term management options for Bay Road in the CMP. The CMP also includes emergency management plans to help us better manage similar future erosion events. Now that the CMP is certified, we can undertake long-term works and secure funding.
The draft CMP was on public exhibition from 11 October until 23 November 2022. It was adopted by Council on 13 December 2022 and has since been certified by the NSW Minister for Local Government.
After the further damage caused in May 2023, we received approval to undertake more substantial work to protect Bay Road. We used specialised equipment to fill large sandbags made from geotextile fabric. Unlike the open bulker bags used as a temporary measure, these new sandbags are fully enclosed and weigh 2 tonnes each.
We strategically placed these sandbags in the most affected areas. These geotextile sandbags will significantly reduce the likelihood and severity of future erosion and shore up Bay Road against potential collapse. Similar sandbags have proven effective in other coastal areas of NSW.
Pending approvals, the geotextile sandbags will remain in place until a long-term solution is designed and implemented.
Huge geotextile sanbags filled and ready to be sewn up
Geofabric is positioned beneath the sandbag structure
The structure takes shape, arranged in tiers
Tidying up the top of the structure protecting Bay Road
We are exploring options to provide a more permanent solution. We are looking at building a low-lying revetment structure to stabilise the coastline. NSW legislation does not allow such works to be undertaken as emergency works. We can only implement them through a certified CMP.
We have heard from the community that the main priority for a management outcome is one that:
does not disrupt access to the foreshore. The solution must ensure the beach remains accessible for all members of the community, including those with limited mobility and those who use watercraft such as kayaks
maintains the natural character of the foreshore. Long Beach residents and visitors value the open, unobstructed nature of the beach. Hard structures and vegetation must be low lying to maintain this character
does not compromise the amenity of the beach. Any hard solution will take up space on the beach. The right solution must protect this beach amenity as well as the road behind the beach.
We completed the geo-textile sandbag structure along the worst affected areas of Long Beach. Wrangling sandbags that weighed a whooping 2 tonnes each was no small feat. Stitching, lifting and positioning each bag took creativity, skill, and a lot of patience.
We started filling the giant geotextile sandbags and placing them along the foreshore.
We acquired the specialised equipment and materials needed to create a geotextile sandbag structure to protect Bay Road and the foreshore.
The sandbag structure will serve as a medium-term solution while we investigate long-term options.
A huge swell eroded Long Beach exposing the edge of Bay Road again.
We gained approval from the relevant NSW Government agencies to install geotextile bags to protect the road.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has committed to providing $5M for three actions identified in the CMP. One of these actions is the protection of Bay Road, Long Beach from beach erosion.
We are now liaising with NSW Public Works to project manage the coastal protection works.
The CMP has been certified by the NSW Minister for Local Government.
Council adopted the Eurobodalla Open Coast CMP at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 13 December. We then submitted it to the NSW Minister for Local Government for certification.
The beach nourishment work has been successful with the sand staying in place, protecting the road and Norfolk pines. The southern end of the beach is replenishing naturally after we sourced the sand from the far end.
We hosted a drop-in session at the Long Beach RFS on 3 November. Council staff and consultants were available to answer questions and discuss coastal management solutions with the community.
We started on the beach nourishment works using dump trucks and heavy plant to replenish the sand in the eroded areas. This was emergency work and was approved by relevant NSW Government agencies.
We placed the draft Open Coast Coastal Management Program on public exhibition for community feedback from Wednesday 12 October to Wednesday 23 November 2022.
We received further approvals to undertake beach nourishment works and place sandbags along the Bay Road cul-de-sac
High seas washed away sand from around the base of the large Norfolk Island pines exposing the trees’ roots.
Our arborist undertook assessments of the trees.
High seas caused erosion to the beach next to the Bay Road cul-de-sac.
We received the first approval to undertake beach nourishment works.
We placed large sandbags along the affected area to protect Bay Road from further erosion.
We met with various NSW agencies on-site to reach an agreement on permission to undertake emergency works
We redirected resources so we could prepare:
a Review of Environmental Factors (REFs)
various approval applications to undertake emergency works.
An east coast low weather event caused significant erosion of the Long Beach shoreline.
The sea washed away sand right up to Bay Road, creating concern about the future of the bitumen road.
We liaised with the community at key stages while preparing the Open Coast Coastal Management Program (CMP). Working with the Long Beach Community Association and other residents, we considered the possible solutions for erosion management.
The community had an opportunity to give feedback while the draft Open Coast CMP was on public exhibition. The draft was available on our public exhibition web page until 23 November 2022.
We also hosted a drop-in session on 3 November 2022 for residents to talk with Council staff and consultants about the draft Open Coast CMP and actions for the Long Beach area.