Sand pumping to save Jimmys Beach

A trial of NSW coast’s first sand transfer system at Jimmys Beach in Hawks Nest is underway, following the completion of construction, and aims to create a sand buffer on the beach to mitigate erosion during severe weather events.

A tri-funding arrangement between the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, MidCoast Council, and the Department of Primary Industries, Crown Lands and Water, the $4.1 million project uses pumps to take sand from the Winda Woppa sand stockpile to renourish Jimmys Beach.

The sand began to pump onto the beach in mid April 2019, commencing a three week renourishment test period of the sand transfer system that aims to provide a temporary buffer for the 2019 winter season. Southerly winds and swells, which usually arrive on the east coast during weather characterised by low pressure systems, cause the sand to be stripped from Jimmys Beach.

It’s planned to renourish the beach using the sand transfer system again as required later in 2019.

Council has faced an ongoing battle to provide a sand buffer for the best part of 30 years on Jimmys Beach, one of NSW’s 12 identified coastal erosion hotspots.

With community support strongly behind the preservation of the existing beachfront, Council has pursued a program of sand renourishment of the beach after each storm event, trucking sand in along the beachfront.

“Sand renourishment has been identified as the most efficient way to provide a buffer for Jimmys Beach, and has the advantage of preserving the beach for people’s enjoyment,” Andrew Staniland, MidCoast Council Project Manager, said.

With that in mind, and after extensive investigations into all types of options for controlling erosion, it was determined that the sand transfer system was viable for Jimmys Beach. It provides a more reliable source of sand that is readily available when required and is a cheaper option than trucking sand.

Thanks to the joint funding arrangement, the construction of the sand transfer system begun in July 2018.

“All beaches are unique, and while the sand transfer system is the best management option for Jimmys Beach, it may not be suitable for other eroding beaches on the MidCoast,” said Mr Staniland.

“This system is not designed to stop the erosion, however, it will continue to provide a temporary sand buffer along The Boulevard part of the beach far more effectively than previous trucking campaigns.”

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