Evaluating and safeguarding our shores

Effective beach protection strategies are needed to ensure the economic viability of coastal communities in face of development pressures and climate change.

The Centre’s Research into the hydrodynamic and sedimentary characteristics of beaches and tidal entrances, and the performance of innovative coastal protection structures such as artificial reefs including their function as marine habitats is of international standing.

Narrowneck Reef Shoreline response modelling

Scheduled maintenance for the Narrowneck Artificial Reef structure was planned for 2014-15. The City of Gold Coast engaged the Centre to apply advanced numerical modelling to determine if the current structure needed to be altered, and to provide modelling tools to ensure the best decision making when applied to the valuable and vulnerable stretch of beach.

Sunshine Coast Beach Profile Analysis

Sunshine Coast Regional Council has engaged Griffith Centre for Coastal Management to collect data on beach profiles and convert this into usable formats for the assessment. A report will also be compiled with recommendations for ongoing assessment.

SURFER DEMOGRAPHICS AND ECONOMICS

The aim of the research program was to understand demographic and economic trends for surfing and provide a baseline for future data collection and analysis. The study enhanced the legitimacy of coastal management decisions with key stakeholder groups by establishing baseline socioeconomic data regarding surfing across the Gold Coast. When established, this baseline will provide the basis for quantitative assessment of the costs and benefits of coastal management initiatives to surfers comparable with impacts on other groups, such as foreshore property owners and business operators.

CERFS

The Coastal Engineering Research Field Station (CERFS) project consists of instrument modules for measuring waves, tides, currents, seabed and beach profiles and sediment characteristics. It aims to address critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of coastal processes including the impacts of climate variability and change, and generate long-term data-sets for calibration of coastal models against Australian conditions.

This research is expected to lead to improved techniques to address coastal infrastructure design, beach management strategies and impact assessment to meet the challenges of future major coastal development. This will be a nationally-relevant facility, building on five decades of Gold Coast coastal research.

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THE SURF MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Surf Management Plan aimed to define surf amenity for Gold Coast beaches and contribute to more effective beach management strategies for the city. The plan described the physical and legislative processes governing Gold Coast surf amenity, while providing a framework to address increasing demands on the city's surfing resources. In order to clearly convey information and recommendations, the Plan comprised of a written report with supplementary interactive online content.

GOLD COAST SHORELINE MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Gold Coast Shoreline Management plan was commissioned to investigate the management of the city’s coastline. The plan’s aim was to clearly define what was known, and what further research was needed, to gain a thorough understanding of the Gold Coast’s sandy beach environment. The project is ongoing, with the objective to address several key recommendations including the continued use of beach nourishment and control structures for coastal protection.

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