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Newsletter Jan 2016

Dear Members,

thank you for supporting our group. We are pleased to know that you are concerned enough in our Coast to take an interest in what we are doing. We are not infrequently asked why are we doing it? Well, in a nut shell we are collecting data but we have also provided an early warning of changes in erosion levels.

For the last 3 years our primary focus has been East Beach, As you know there are 14 reference posts along East Beach that are GPS sighted for position and height and once a month we do beach profiles using a laser level and refer those measurements back to the Australian Height Datum so that we can compare any part of the beach with any other part. We also measure the distance from the post to the base of the dune to monitor dune recession.

This data is not going to give us the answer to climate change but it is going to contribute in an important way to the mass of information that is needed to make sensible decisions as to how we respond to it.

Coastal Engineering and Management is an exploding speciality that has only been in existence for about 20 years and is going to require volumes of data to be able make evidenced based decisions. Reliable modelling is entirely dependent on good data.

Unfortunately, everyone is strapped for cash and the Victorian Govt. has informed the various Departments concerned with Coastal Management not to expect any increase in their budgets for research.

As a consequence these Departments are very appreciative of voluntary groups doing research and are keen to nurture them. This is one of the major functions of The Dept of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). They have regional facilitators in Warrnambool, Anglesea, Geelong, Box Hill, Yarrum and Bairnsdale to engage, support and help coordinate communication between voluntary groups and Coastal Management Authorities, Councils, Parks Victoria and CMA’s.

Victoria has 2000kms of coastline and there are 9000 Victorian members of coastal voluntary groups. 150 community coastal based organisations contribute approximately $15m in kind to the Victorian economy. No wonder they like us! I must say that Moyne Shire Council and DELWP have been very supportive to us. Our compiled data is made available to both those groups and the summaries to anyone who wishes to see them.

You have probably noticed that the sand levels along the beach are quite good at present. Post 4 has only about 10cm exposed. We are monitoring in detail the parameters about the rock wall in front of the old tip site. (Post 8) Two extra posts have been sited to facilitate this. There has been quite an accumulation of sand and new vegetation in the area and it will be interesting to see if the wall does what it was designed to do during the winter months.

Last Sunday David Bills-Thompson and I did the first profiling records of the three new posts at Pea Soup and South Beach. In future the year six primary school students from St. Patricks and The Consolidated School are going to continue with this under our supervision. The schools have embraced this as part of their science curriculum. We are looking forward to having them involved.

Last Saturday we had an information stall at the King George Square markets organised by Julie Burt. We were pleasantly surprised at the level of interest there was in what our group does and the issue of climate change. The three of us did not stop talking for three hours and signed up four new members!

We are fortunate to have a very cohesive committee but of course we would welcome anyone who feels they would like to be more closely involved with the action or would like to pursue some other interest we are not addressing ie Estuary management, please get in touch.

I have just finished wading through a number of publications that you may be interested in reading. They are:

- The Western Regional Coastal Plan 2015-2020

- Victorian Coastal Strategy 2014

- Climate Change Adaption Guidelines in Coastal Management and Planning

- Guidelines for Responding to the Effects of Climate Change in Coastal and Ocean Engineering

Coastal Engineering Guidelines.

They are all available on the internet and of course don’t forget to have a look at our website at

Best Wishes for the New Year, Nick Abbott.


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