PROFESSOR Emeritus Rodger Tomlinson, foundation director, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, has thrown his support behind South Gippsland Conservation Society’s calls for active dune management along unprotected sections of Inverloch Surf Beach.

Interviewed to coincide with the release of two new reports for the Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project, Professor Tomlinson said: “My personal view is that the dune erosion that is occurring at Inverloch Surf Beach calls for low key, coastal protection to be done in parallel with the development of a longer-term solution to the problem.

“Our natural defence, the dunes, need a helping hand. Active dune management involving dune renourishment, wet sand fencing, managing beach access, maintaining native vegetation and fencing off sections of the dunes will all help to maintain the buffer provided by the dunes.

“The whole dune system needs to be managed, both on the ocean side and the land side.”

Professor Tomlinson’s comments came as the Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project released an update of its Inverloch Surf Beach Monitoring Report.

Recent analysis by the project team has found the coastline at Wreck Creek, west of the surf club, has receded by 70 metres since 2010, with approximately 2.8 hectares of dune vegetation swept away between Cape Paterson Road and the surf club. Beach monitoring has confirmed the coastline receded by 8 metres since February 2020 alone, with the vegetated dunes receding by an additional 30 metres at the new Wreck Creek breakthrough.

Inverloch Coastal Resilience project leader Philip Heath said: “Without the types of low-key intervention supported by Professor Tomlinson, further breakthroughs are likely to occur at Wreck Creek over the next six months, threatening the ecological values of the Wreck Creek system and leaving Surf Parade and adjoining residences vulnerable.

“Similarly, the remaining mature Coast Banksia trees at Flat Rocks will be lost within the next 18 months without protection, leaving the adjacent section of Cape Paterson Road at risk.

“We reiterate our call on the authorities to implement pro-active dune management along the surf beach and, in particular, at the priority protection zones we have identified at Wreck Creek and Flat Rocks.

“Both reports have been distributed to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Bass Coast Shire and other members of the Victorian government’s Inverloch Coastal Protection Working Group, as well as the Coastal Hazard Assessment consultants, and we look forward to their response.”

Professor Tomlinson’s report and the Society’s ‘Inverloch Surf Beach Monitoring Report – February 2021 Update’ are available at the South Gippsland Conservation Society website at sgcs.org.au, where the ‘Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project Report’ and the ‘Coastline in Crisis’ documentary can also be viewed.