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New Brighton Beach Scraping

As an outcome of the 2010 New Brighton Beach Scraping Trial, Council resolved to implement a beach scraping program at New Brighton in 2013/2014.

With reference to Resolution 12-67 (Part 2), the objective of the 2013/14 program is:

To attempt to maintain, in the short term, a preferred dune profile, volume, beach accessibility and recreational amenity; noting that:

  1. the proposed program will not remove the immediate coastline hazard threat to infrastructure and private property from a design storm event (100 year ARI), but is likely to modestly reduce the severity of this threat;
  2. adequate funding arrangements need to be established, as such a further report is to be tabled for Council’s consideration, by no later than October 2012, canvassing options for funding the program including the option to apply for a special rate increase;
  3. prior to the implementation of any scraping works, it needs to be established that appropriate physical conditions are met;
  4. an adaptive management approach is to underpin the program, and will be used to inform the ongoing viability of the works as well as other issues such as the scheduling of works and amount of sand to be scraped each episode.

 In October 2012, Council considered a report (Report No 12.19) over-viewing a budget for future beach scraping works and canvassing options for funding the 2013/2014 New Brighton Beach Scraping Program and ongoing works over the medium term. Council subsequently resolved:

12-854 Resolved (relevant parts only)

2.   That Council apply to the State Government’s Coastal Management Program to partly fund the implementation of the 2013/2014 New Brighton Beach Scraping Program.  

3.   That Council allocate the full amount of $114,700 from the Risk Management Reserve to implement the New Brighton Beach Scraping Program in 2013/2014; if grant funding is received a lesser amount will be required.  

4.   That Council consider a permanent bi-annual allocation in future budgets to fund the ongoing New Brighton Beach Scraping Program.

Trial Beach Scraping works at New Brighton Beach – September 2010

During September 2010 Byron Shire Council undertook a trial beach scraping project at New Brighton Beach. Prior to the onground works phase, Council considered a report that examined costings, approvals, ecological and logistic issues associated with the project. Please refer to Council's Meeting Agenda and Minutes of 12 August 2010.  Annexured to the report is the Beach Scraping Summary Report which incorporates the Review of Environmental Factors. 

The beach scraping was undertaken successfully and followed completion of a technical proposal into the viability of beach scraping as a coastal hazards management strategy (please see ‘Project Detail’ section below). The trial beach scraping project was jointly funded by the Federal and State Government Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme, and Byron Shire Council.

As part of the project, a comprehensive biological monitoring program, beach and dune survey program, and dune rehabilitation program were undertaken. Photo monitoring of the scraped dune condition and behaviour over time is ongoing.

Outcomes of the Trial Beach Scraping works at New Brighton Beach – September 2010

The outcomes of the beach scraping trial were documented and reported to Council on 9 February 2012 (refer Report No 12.22). The report was accompanied by the following monitoring studies which were undertaken to assess the physical and ecological impact of the works:

At the Extraordinary Meeting of 23 February 2012, it was subsequently resolved:

12-67 Resolved:

1.    That Council note that, overall, the Trial Beach Scraping Episode at New Brighton Beach reduced coastal hazard threat by increasing dune volume and resulted in minimal environmental harm, but that the works were not sufficient to fully offset coastal hazards and /or future climate change and that such works are unlikely to be a long term coastal management solution at this location.

2.    That Council commences the implementation of a beach scraping program at New Brighton in 2013/2014 to attempt to maintain, in the short term, a preferred dune profile, volume, beach accessibility and recreational amenity; noting that:

a) the proposed program will not remove the immediate coastline hazard threat to infrastructure and private property from a design storm event (100 year ARI), but is likely to modestly reduce the severity of this threat;

b) adequate funding arrangements need to be established, as such a further report is to be tabled for Council’s consideration, by no later than October 2012, canvassing options for funding the program including the option to apply for a special rate increase;

c) prior to the implementation of any scraping works, it needs to be established that appropriate physical conditions are met;

d) an adaptive management approach is to underpin the program, and will be used to inform the ongoing viability of the works as well as other issues such as the scheduling of works and amount of sand to be scraped each episode.

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Project Detail

“Beach Scraping” is the transfer of sand from the lower beach to the upper beach (within the beach system), usually by mechanical equipment, to re-distribute the sand to parts of the beach above tidal level.  In 2009 a technical proposal was completed on behalf of Council which involved the survey, design and environmental assessment of beach scraping at New Brighton Beach over the 1.8 kilometres of beach front adjacent to the village of New Brighton, and 500 metres adjacent to South Golden Beach (as shown in map).

At New Brighton Beach the intended objective of any beach scraping works (if/when undertaken) is to build the sand reserves for protection of beachfront development and infrastructure from short term coastal erosion and oceanic inundation, and to augment the natural buffer provided by sand dunes from natural processes. At South Golden Beach it is to increase the height of the dune to reduce the threat from oceanic inundation. Beach scraping works may also be undertaken to restore or improve beach access tracks.

The beach scraping technical proposal quantifies the level of protection expected to be provided by beach scraping works for the New Brighton and South Golden beach developed coastal compartments, and also includes:

  • Detailed survey of the site to quantify the present status of the dune system and the volume of sand required
  • Proposal development and design
  • Detailed cost estimates
  • Monitoring program to monitor beach width, sand volumes and impacts as identified as part of environmental assessment
  • Environmental assessment under the relevant legislation
  • Documentation of the approval process
  • Benefit-cost analysis
  • An analysis of the long-term viability of the project in light of climate change
  • Stakeholder engagement.

Project Background

The Byron Shire Coastline Management Study (2004) states that beach scraping has been used on a number of occasions in Byron Shire to help build up the dunal system and has been suggested as a potential option to reduce the threat from short term storm erosion and oceanic inundation.  The principle of beach scraping involves the winning of sand from low in the beach profile (generally in the intertidal zone) and placing it at the base, or on, the dune system. 

Such practices can aid the speed of rebuilding the dune system following a storm event.  Such processes would happen naturally but at a much slower rate.  Beach scraping can assist in reshaping and increasing the volume of the dunal system following a storm (or any other time), or building up the dune to prevent wave overtopping and inundation of coastal lands. It may not be a long-term solution to address long term shoreline recession (particularly under rising sea level), however, it may provide benefit over the short to medium-term.

Community Consultation

In response to representations made to Council by the New Brighton Progress Association who advocate the success of beach scraping undertaken historically during the 1970s and 80s, a report on beach scraping was considered by Council’s Coastline Management Committee in August 2006.  The report outlined the activity, the issues and impacts, the approval process and potential funding mechanisms.  The Coastline Management Committee recommended that Council apply for funding from the NSW Coastal Program to undertake environmental assessment of beach scraping at Suffolk Park, New Brighton and South Golden Beach.

The issue of beach scraping was also raised at community workshops held over two days in early June 2007 during the development of the Coastal Zone Management Plan for Byron Shire Coastline (now adopted by Council). During the workshops and associated site tours of the Byron Shire coastline, the uncertainty of the process of beach scraping was raised as an issue by community participants.  Other issues raised included:

  • It may be a useful exercise to enhance dunes;
  • Some are concerned with the damage to beach ecology
  • Beach scraping may be viable to repair dune until it is no longer practical
  • The environmental impact assessment should determine the practicality of such works
  • There should be no public access interference

Consultation with the community, including key stakeholders, was undertaken during the development of the beach scaping proposal for New Brighton and South Golden Beach. Byron Shire Council in association with the project consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff, held community meetings at Ocean Shores Community Centre and at South Golden Beach Community Hall on 4 September 2007. Minutes from the Community Workshops provide some answers to questions raised during the meetings.

For further information on this project please contact;

Coastal and Estuary Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02) 6626 7135
Email: council@byron.nsw.gov.au