Serious erosion is continuing to cause concerns on Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay.
Serious erosion is continuing to cause concerns on Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay.

‘No simple, immediate solution’ to severe beach erosion

THERE is no simple or immediate solution to erosion on Byron Bay beaches.

But Byron Shire Council staff are working with state government agencies to manage erosion at Main Beach and Clarkes Beach.

A large amount of sand has left the coastal strip this year, leading to the loss of the beaches themselves and there have been regular tidal impacts on the foot of the dunes.

The council’s coastal and biodiversity co-ordinator, Chloe Dowsett, said while coastal erosion is a natural event, Byron’s geography meant it was “occurring at a significant rate”.

“Recession is an underlying long term erosional trend caused by an imbalance in what we call the ‘sediment budget’ with more sand leaving the area than returning,” Ms Dowsett said.

“Several beaches in the Byron Shire have land assets or infrastructure in the immediate coastal hazard area or in close proximity including Belongil and New Brighton Beach as well as Clarkes Beach and Main Beach.

“At Clarkes Beach and Main Beach the erosion has been occurring for many months and a lot of vegetation, including large trees, has been lost, further destabilising the area.

“The primary source of this erosion is a lack of sand within the bay from a lack of consistent southerly swell over the last few years which enables longshore transport of sand up the coast.

“Coastal erosion in the Byron Shire is an enormously complex problem that involves a number of different stakeholders including Crown Lands, Reflections Holiday Park, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Marine Park Authority and we are working together.”

The council has been working with all land managers along the strip.

But Ms Dowsett said there is no simple or immediate solution to the complex dilemma.

She said trees were being left on the beach where possible, to protect the dunes.

A “big slug of sand” has meanwhile moved around the Pass and should eventually move onto the beaches, she said.