Boulders by the beach

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By Andre Le Coz

St Kilda beach is under threat from erosion, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning are piling rocks to save the shoreline.

In an effort to keep St Kilda’s pristine beach environment up to scratch as a tourist attraction and local hotspot, the Victorian Government’s Coastal Environments Program (CEP), which prioritises projects that protect and repair coastal assets from coastal erosion and storm damage, has been administered with the repair of the seawall breakwater and shore.

Funded by the Government through the CEP the cost of the project will be $183,424.50.

A crane will oversee the construction, hauling bolder sized rocks into place, replacing weathered ones that have since dissolved and broken down into the ocean over the decades, James O’Loan speaks on the effort.

“We’re protecting St Kilda Beach’s foreshore and surrounds for the long term. Right now, we’re busy strengthening a rock revetment at the southern end of the beach, adjacent to Marina Reserve.”

In accordance with the Act, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was in place, which helped identify and mitigate any potential marine impacts.

The main risk identified was that works might cause temporary silt plumes in the water, which can disturb fish and other sea life. To negate this issue, work was done on the toe and base of the revetment during low tide when the structure was almost completely above the water. In addition, all work on the revetment was to stop immediately if any silt plumes were detected, and could only recommence during a lower tide.

Due to this damage, a rock revetment repair and upgrade project was required that could provide a long-term solution to protect the foreshore and the community spaces behind it from erosion.

Thanks to these repairs, the beach will remain lively and sustainably relevant for the next few decades until further maintenance is needed. The reinforced revetment will protect against coastal erosion – securing for the long term the foreshore’s public open space, BBQ area and playground.

The works were completed last month according to O’Loan with recent repairs of seawalls at nearby St Kilda Motor Boat Marina and Point Ormond.

The cost of the project will be $183,424.50 and this project one of a series of long term plans that have been involved in the recovery and development of St Kilda Beach.

Including the $6.5 million extension to the St Kilda Breakwater back in 2013 The St Kilda rock revetment at Marina Reserve was battered by storms in June 2014, scattering its rocks and making it less effective against erosion.

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