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Activity Update

The year is fast approaching its end and so a brief update about the last 6 month’s activities is timely.

Beach monitoring continues on a regular basis and we are now getting to a stage when the four years of data collection is beginning to allow us to see trends in sand movement along the beach and dune movement behaviour. Although the year has been extremely wet we did not have any severe storms so over all the beach has been relatively stable.

One interesting observation is that the readings at the 30 metre mark from the posts are the most dynamic and appear to follow a trend. That, it is where the sand is first lost during early winter months and it occurs in a progressive fashion from the south end to the north end of East Beach and the recovery follows suit. Thirty meters is well below the high water mark and in some places below the low water mark at some posts so getting this data means getting wet. The sand level at post 11 reached its lowest level on record but has since recovered somewhat and the sand at the old night soil sight continues to accrue mainly due to wind, so much so, that post 4 has disappeared. When we began collecting data in 2013 it was the area between the end of the houses and post 4 that was most threatened.

Monitoring with the two primary schools as a science project for the year six group (see photos) continues when tides and time permit. This is done at Pea Soup and South Beach. We will be encouraging them to do the charting with the data they collect.

Primary school children with PFCG on the beach

You may be aware of the controversy surrounding the use of the northern 1 km of East beach by the Warrnambool race horse trainers from dawn to 10am. It is proposed that 20 to 30 horses will be on the beach at any one time so we thought it prudent to get some base line measurements of the access to the beach as erosion at that point is most likely.

Between us we have attended a few meeting during the year. I went to the Coast to Coast meeting held at the MCG in August. It is a biannual conference that attracts various bodies, mainly local and State Govt. and shire councils that are concerned with the management of Australia’s coastal fringe which includes marine parks. Research papers were presented and management plans discussed. Adaption to climate change was an underlying concern.

David Bills-Thompson represented the group at the National Climate Change Adaption Research Facility Workshop at Deakin University, Warrnambool. The organisation was established in 2014 to develop an information delivery support system for coastal managers in Australia seeking to adapt to climate change. The system is called Coastal Adapt and is a repository of information and a visit to the link is well worthwhile. We were the only voluntary organisation to be invited.

The Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority had an open day in Warrnambool a couple of weeks ago which I attended, mainly to see if there were any plans to formulate a Moyne River management plan. The outcome of that inquiry was that there wasn’t, but they were keen to hear of any particular concerns that might persuade them otherwise, so if you are aware of any problems let them or me know. I gather that the attendees were mainly representatives from environmental groups and Hopkins river frontage owners and possible Shire employees.

Happy Xmas and New Year.

Nick Abbott (Chairman)

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