By Nick Sinis

AS INVERLOCH’S coast continues to experience significant erosion for almost a decade, the Cape to Cape Resilience Project will look to reduce its impact and create a plan for adaptation activities in the coming years.

The project is managed by the Inverloch Regional and Strategic Partnership (RaSP), which includes 10 partners responsible for managing coastal land, assets and infrastructure.

The study area extends from Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap, with areas of interest including:
• Open coast from Cape Paterson along the coastal cliffs adjacent towards Inverloch.
• Open foreshore and surf beach at Inverloch.
• Dynamic estuaries and tidal mudflats of Anderson Inlet.
• Open coast and dunes of Venus Bay south to Cape Liptrap.
• Inland from the coastline, allowing for assessment of estuary and groundwater impacts.

Inverloch RaSP project manager Cassandra Philippou said substantial erosion had been noticed in Inverloch from around 2013.

“It’s been going on for more than eight years and it hasn’t slowed down,” Ms Philippou said.

“When you see erosion happening on a beach, quite often it will stop and you will see a move to accretion.

“You might get a particularly erosive winter and then in summer it takes longer for the sand to come back, so often it’s not a call for alarm.

“But what we’ve found at Inverloch is that it’s just been increasing and increasing and hasn’t really stopped.”

Ms Philippou said the erosion events and fluctuations could be partly because of La Nina and the change from El Nino but more research was needed.

“The South Gippsland Conservation Society started doing some work several years ago to study the erosion and understand what was going on down there,” she said.

“And at the same time, DELWP has been quite closely involved.

“It started impacting the new lifesaving tower that was originally on the dunes and it had been to be moved a couple times. Now it is a mobile lifesaving structure.”

Ms Philippou added wet sand fencing and sandbagging had been among measures so far to help prevent further damage at Inverloch.

“Sandbags were installed in front of the surf lifesaving club in 2020 because the wet sand fencing didn’t solve the problem,” she said.

“They also put some brush in to stabilise the top of the dune and started replanting vegetation, and there has been some natural vegetation as well.”

A regional Coastal Hazard Assessment is being undertaken to examine the geological formation, historic and recent changes to the coast.

The Coastal Hazard Assessment will look at wave, wind, tide, catchment and groundwater data from the past and predict how climate change may affect these in the future.

Many scenarios will be modelled with different storm events, general changing weather and climate
conditions and sea levels.

These digital models will be used to test up to five adaption options to see what impacts interventions may have on the coastline.

The outcome will help identify areas and assets that may be vulnerable to coastal hazards and changing climate conditions in the future.

The final output of the project will be the Cape to Cape Coastal Resilience Plan, which will include an action plan for priority adaptation activities over the next five to 10 years and pathways to plan long-term adaptation into the future.

Stakeholder and community engagement will be happening throughout the project and will be tailored to align with and inform key elements of the technical work.

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