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ISSUE 02  |  FEBRUARY 2020  |


Welcome to the first edition of WA Coastal News for 2020.
The last three months has seen significant activity in the WA branch, commencing with our planning session in early December to co-hosting the first meeting of the WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (CMCN) on the 28th of February. The WA branch continues to grow and is embracing new opportunities to support collaboration between coastal and marine stakeholders across the State.  
The start of 2020 saw Australia’s coasts as a refuge for bushfire victims; with the unprecedented events also bringing greater attention to the impacts of climate change on our nation. Our coasts are ‘at the frontline’ of climate impacts, and this renewed emphasis on the impacts of climate change has occurred in tandem with a national agreement to establish an intergovernmental working group (led out of Western Australia) to collate information on erosion and inundation risk management and propose a collaborative approach at the next Meeting of the Ministers. 
The national and State level focus on coastal erosion provides an opportunity for you to contribute your knowledge and understanding of the practical challenges of managing erosion and/or inundation in your coastal area. Whether that be an individual beach or at a regional or State level.  What do you believe are the key priorities to achieve a collaborative approach to erosion management in WA and nationally? What is needed? What is missing? ACS WA is supporting this process via a short survey. If you would like to participate, please join our mailing list by clicking on the sign up tab below.   
Over the coming months there are a number of coastal events well worth attending. Check them out in the Events section below.
As always, you would like to know more about any of items discussed (for example, the WA Coastal and Marine Community Network), please get in touch:     

Carmen Elrick-Barr
ACS WA State Chair


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ACS WA Highlights
  • The ACS National AGM was held in November 2019. Three WA members were nominated and accepted on the national board of Directors.  
  • The ACS WA Branch Planning Session was held in late December. Outputs will be compiled into Forward Plan and distributed to members for review and comment by mid 2020. 
  • ACS WA collaborated with CoastSWaP and PerthNRM to host the first meeting of the proposed WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (CMCN) on 28th February 2020.
  • ACS National Chair and WA Member, Jo Ludbrook, presented at a Conservation Council WA event entitled Landcare and Climate Change. Held on 26th February 2020, the event examined the role of coastal community groups in adapting to climate change.  
  • ACS WA continues to collaborate with the Western Australian Landcare Network (WALN); and is looking to increase partnerships with other coastal regional and State organisations. If you would like to know more, contact us:

State government support to plan for and manage WA’s coast

The Coastal Management Plan Assistance Program (CMPAP), administered by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on behalf of the Western Australian Planning Commission, provides funding to implement State Coastal Planning Policy (SPP) 2.6, through the preparation of coastal hazard risk management and adaptation plans (CHRMAPs), coastal strategies and management plans. In July 2013, SPP2.6 was reviewed and gazetted to include new policy requirements including CHRMAPs.  Since 2013, 30 projects have been funded, of which 18 are CHRMAPs.
There are currently 10 live CMPAP projects across the State. These include the Shire of Northampton’s Horrocks Beach CHRMAP, which has recently been drafted and will soon be advertised for public comment. The City of Albany recently adopted a CHRMAP for Emu Point to Middleton Beach which received funding in 2017/18. The City of Greater Geraldton will soon be undertaking master planning for their coastal nodes with the help of a CMPAP grant. This project builds upon the City’s adopted CHRMAP which also received funding through CMPAP in 2016/17.
The 2020/21 grants open early March 2020, closing on Monday 20 April. There is a maximum individual grant limit of $125,000 per project.  Further information can be found here.  

Monitoring and mapping our coastline
The State government is continuing to invest in improving the understanding of our coastal and marine environment through visual data collection. Landgate are currently flying the 2020 Southern Coast Run, capturing aerial photography from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay (Esperance). When received by the Department of Transport, coastline capture will commence, and the data will be added to the Departments existing shoreline datasets that stretch back to 1940. The Department will also receive a high-definition digital terrain model covering the Western Australian coast. The outputs can be viewed via National Map
Planning for the 2020 WA capture process has also begun and to compliment the Southern Coast Run the Department is exploring opportunities to complete a Northern Coast Run from Kalbarri to Broome. If successful, this may incorporate the offshore Islands and large intertidal flat areas of the Pilbara. It will also include a high-definition digital terrain model.
Would you like to apply this information in your decision-making? Check out National Map and send a request for information to

A seawall for Port Beach

A key erosion hotspot along the WA coast, Port beach, has received funding from the State government to build a temporary seawall to protect infrastructure at the site. This temporary solution is intended to provide decision-makers with more time to develop a longer-term solution to manage coastal erosion at Port beach. Further detail is provided in the media statement released on 18 January.  


South-west coast corals and waves

The RV Falkor (research vessel) is currently off the south coast of WA investigating deep sea corals (check out the live streaming here; and find out more about the project here). The University of Western Australia has crew on board who have deployed a drifting wave buoy to provide observations of waves in the Southern Ocean (which ultimately impact the coast). The buoy has drifted ~250 km SW from Bremer Canyon and is currently ~125 km offshore just west of Albany. The data is being streamed to UWA’s waves website,, which also includes real time data from other moored buoys along the coast.




WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (CMCN)

The first meeting of the WA CMCN was held on 28 February. The meeting saw 26 individuals representing government, NGO, community/land care, research, and private sectors come together to discuss the establishment of a CMCN in Western Australia. The genesis of this initiative was a conference session led by CoastSWAP at the WA Coastal and NRM Conference in October 2019. The session discussed the need for a CMCN to fill the gap left by the loss of coastal facilitators across the State. This was the first meeting of the group. Participants focussed on three priority areas: (i) capacity building; (ii) coordination of information, knowledge and human resources; (iii) championing and advocating for the WA coast. The outputs will set direction for the group moving forward. The next meeting will occur in tandem with Perth NRMs Coastal Forum on 29th April 2020. 
If you would like to be involved in the community as it grows and develops, please reach out and we can place you on the mailing list. 

Cambridge Coastcare: Increasing dune management success through improved understanding of coastal processes  

 Since 2016 Cambridge Coastcare has been tackling the challenge of repairing a severely degraded dune at Floreat dog beach. Commencing with fencing in 2016, followed by matting and then planting in 2017, the dune has been a site of ongoing planting since that time. This work has seen much progress, and also challenges, given the severely degraded nature of the dune and the severity of occasional winter storms on this stretch of coast. The group is currently working to rebuild the dune to the alignment of dunes to the north and south of the degraded area (see Dec 2019 image). It is hoped that this technique will achieve a more stable dune to protect West Coast Highway and other infrastructure a short distance to the east. 

Cambridge Coastcare recognises the importance of understanding the dynamics of the natural coastal dune system to achieve success in their dune management activities. To further their understanding, they developed a project plan in 2018-19 for a trial aerial survey using innovative technologies.  The project targeted an area highlighted in an earlier Coastal Area Management Plan (2005) as a priority for coastal dune monitoring and restoration.  
Funding was provided through the WAPC Coastwest grants scheme with in-kind support from Remsense (industry specialists in remote drone pilots and digital imaging), Cambridge Coastcare and Town of Cambridge. The project involved the collection of high-precision aerial surveys using drones capturing images during spring, summer, autumn and winter over a 12-month period. The resulting high-resolution photos, videos and 3D models of the dunes highlighted areas of accretion and erosion, effectiveness of treatment sites, vegetation cover and human impact. This information provides a baseline for ongoing monitoring programs that can provide greater insight into coastal process and how dune management activities can be best planned to ensure success.  
To find out more, visit Cambridge coastcare's website, facebook page or contact Meg ( or John ( You are also welcome to attend the community forum on Wed 18th March, 6 - 7.30pm, at the Town of Cambridge Administration Centre, 1 Bold Park  Drive, Floreat.

Dune state, July 2016 to December 2019. 

Our backyard - WA coastal news

A 7.30 report on coastal erosion focused on two threatened coastal communities on each side of the country. One of the identified erosion hotspots in WA, Port Beach, was a focus area, exploring impacts to local beach users and businesses. In NSW, the community of Stockholm is considering taking the government to court for a failure to act on beach sustainability.
Port Kennedy’s coastal front is about to be redeveloped with 900 residential lots, a range of new community facilities and a new main street and town centre. The plan was released for public consultation this month.
An interesting and rare sea fog event was recorded in Perth during our 42.7 degree February day. The fog is formed the same way as clouds and derived from warm, moist air brought in from the north by a low pressure system. Navigation and Port operations were not disrupted.

Our nation - Australian coastal news
ABC interviewed Prof. Barbara Norman regarding coastal pressures (such as coastal development and population growth) in addition to sea level rise and storm inundation. Prof Norman argued that research programs in this space do not receive sustained support and the gap between science and government driven adaptation pathways has widened
Radio National focussed on the Australian coastline during their Science Show on 25th Jan, entitled: The Coastline – as vital as your skin: Keep it healthy or we die (Listen here). Highlights include: (i) changing sea levels and increased erosion generating beach loss and impacting infrastructure; (ii) localised flooding in Lake Macquarie estuary; and (iii) community changes to contribute to coastal adaptation.
Red zones of risk: the ABC reports on an analysis of changing climate risks and insurance coverage in Australia. By 2100, Adelaide will have the highest number of high fire risk insurance zones, and waterfront suburbs of Carrington and Wickham in NSW will see 99% “uninsurability”. However, the assessment did not convince the Insurance Council of Australia which is of the view that “No area of Australia should be uninsurable”.

The world - International coastal news
An example of government supported managed retreat in North Carolina (to respond to flood risk). Charlotte county has been purchasing properties and returning land to its natural condition to manage flood risk, but the extremes now experienced require additional measures.  
Authorities in Louisiana are investigating ways to manage a new challenge posed by rising sea levels – managing public recreational access to inundated private land
Artificial prawns a step forward in reducing coastal impacts and cutting greenhouse gas emissionsThe Economist reports. Did you know: (i) draining mangrove swamps to make way for aquaculture is even more harmful to the atmosphere than felling rainforest to provide pasture for cattle; and (ii) trawlers can pull as much as 20kg of by-catch from the sea for every kilo of prawns.
Want something to listen to? The American Shoreline Podcast Network discusses a range of coastal issues in the United States. It recently had an interesting discussion regarding a managed retreat conference held in the States.



Coast to Coast Conference, Pullman Cairns International QLD, 27 – 30 July. A key event of the year, this is the Australian Coastal Society’s biennial national coastal management conference. Uncertainty is the new norm. How can systems, frameworks, institutions and policy be better designed to make ‘adaptive management’ work for Australia’s coast? Coast to Coast 2020 offers a multidisciplinary space to explore the complexities facing Australia’s coast.
Our Coastal Futures Conference: Southern Cross University Gold Coast, 19 to 22 October 2019. Hosted by Futurearth Australia and Futurearth Coasts, this conference seeks to bring together researchers, practitioners, Indigenous peoples, activists, businesses, youth, and decision-makers to inspire new ideas to enable a transition towards respectful custodianship of our oceans and coasts.  ACS Vice-Chair Nick Harvey will present a keynote at the conference. 
2020 National Forum on Coastal Hazards: Fremantle, Western Australia 20 to 22 May 2020, the National Forum on Coastal Hazards will replace the annual Australian Coastal Councils Conference for 2020. The forum addresses the issue of coastal erosion, and seeks to support the newly established intergovernmental working groups work on erosion and inundation, as announced at the Meeting of Federal and State Environment Ministers in Adelaide on 8 November 2019. Abstracts closed 21 Feb 2020. 

2020 National Landcare Conference. This bi-annual event that will be held from 11 to 13 November 2020, at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. The theme on environment and climate change may be relevant to coastal stakeholders. Abstracts due Wed 8 April 2020.  



Regional sediment management: a tool to respond to erosion  

Coastal infrastructure can affect sediment movement and alter shoreline position. Managing the impacts of altered sediment regimes is a key consideration for coastal managers, particularly under changing weather conditions and sea-level rise. 

A recent article published in the Journal of Marine Science, titled “An Integrated Coastal Sediment Management Plan: The Example of the Tuscany Region (Italy)”, explores the feasibility of a regional approach to sediment management. Regional sediment management refers to the use of littoral and riverine sediment resources in an environmentally beneficial and economical manner. It is designed based on local geomorphology and hydrodynamic conditions and seeks to maintain or enhance the natural exchange of sediment to beaches and associated offshore areas. 

The approach recognizes that the physical system and ecosystems are modified by artificial activities that involve removing, transporting, and placing sediment; and aims to optimise the use of these resources to maximise environmental restoration whilst reducing costs and engaging multiple stakeholders. In this study, sediment characteristics such as grain size and colours, and volumes needed for nourishment versus availability of sediments, was explored. The study showed that the limited available resources were better used when a regional sediment management plan was accepted and adopted by multiple stakeholders.

Similar approaches may be applicable in Western Australia. 

Australian Coastal Systems

A recent issue of the Coastal Research Library, vol 32, provides a detailed review of the Australian coast. Written by Andrew Short and titled Australian Coastal Systems. The book “is intended for all those who are personally and professionally interested in the coast; for students, educators, coastal scientists, engineers, consultants and managers and all levels of government involved with the coast; and for anyone who wants to know more about any part of our vast coastline.” It reports on the geology, climate, coastal processes, and sediment transport. WA’s coastline is covered in Volume 2.


ACS seeks to support information sharing, to contribute to debates on coastal issues, and to promote understanding and knowledge of the WA coast. Through a regular newsletter we hope to provide an avenue for our members and others to share information. Knowledge sharing can uncover synergies and opportunities for collaboration and raise awareness of the amazing work happening along our beautiful coastline. 

Please contact to share information about your coastal area. 


As a volunteer, non-profit organisation, ACS needs active membership to drive change. Being a member provides you with access to connect with national coastal networks, leading coastal experts and to be engaged in coastal management discussions. It also enables you to contribute your thoughts, ideas and concerns and drive initiatives, whether they are local or national, and be rewarded with conference and other professional development discounts. 
Not ready to become a member, but would love to keep up to date with ACS activities? Contact us and we will place you on the mailing list:
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