Sand pumped onto Whiting beach over recent weeks was washed away by the east coast low that devastated several regions along the NSW coast over the weekend.
Fortunately, the Clarence Coast largely dodged any major damage.
A Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson was not available to comment on the storm’s impact on the beach replenishment, which was facilitated by the dredging of the Yamba boat harbour’s navigation channel.
However, the spokesperson had explained how the sand replenishment of Whiting Beach was being managed to prevent any impact on the nearby sea grass beds – prior to the weekend’s storm event.
The spokesperson said in an emailed response: “Through consultation with NSW Fisheries, DPI–Lands has established a number of environmental protection measures to ensure protection of the marine environment, particularly the seagrass beds adjacent to Whiting Beach.
“These include a requirement for works to comply with strict water quality discharge parameters for waters being discharged.
“To meet the set discharge water quality criteria, settlement ponds are being utilised to capture any fine material and to ensure turbid waters do not impact on seagrass.
“Following the completion of dredging, DPI-Lands will monitor the seagrass bed adjacent to Whiting Beach in accordance with requirements set by NSW Fisheries.”
Around 20,000 cubic metres of sand is being dredged from the Yamba boat harbour navigation channel and pumped to Whiting Beach.
“Sand being placed at Whiting Beach will benefit recreation beach users and assist in the protection of adjacent lands and infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.
“The Department of Primary Industries – Lands is committed to delivering a sustainable dredging strategy to improve the accessibility and environmental health of our waterways.”
The dredging contract is being undertaken by National Dredging Services, a company based in Maclean.
The beach has been slowly eroding over many years. Sand was last placed in the same location during May 2008 and, in 2012, Clarence Valley Council placed the geotextile sand-filled bags at the far eastern end of the beach, following erosion that destroyed a concrete walkway and stairs and undermined and broke a stormwater pipe.