Coastal mapping to bolster fight against erosion in regional areas

  • Improved data available for Gascoyne and southern coastal erosion hotspots
  • $4.5 million mapping project
  • Data is vital to fight coastal erosion

The first data from seabed mapping targeting erosion hotspots in the Gascoyne and along the southern coast is now available for use in the State Government’s multifaceted $33.5 million five-year plan to better manage and protect Western Australia’s coastline.

As part of the Coast Capture WA program, the Department of Transport (DoT) has contracted Fugro, a Geo-data company, to undertake a $4.5 million project to map from Esperance to Barrow Island.

High resolution nearshore water depth data is being recorded at coastal erosion hotspots identified in a special report in 2019 which listed 55 locations where coastal erosion is expected to be a risk to coastal values and assets, and an additional 31 watch list locations for future investigation.

Since last March aircraft equipped with aerial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors have been used to capture topographic and bathymetric data of the foreshore and seabed, out to approximately 20 metres depth, at Bremer Bay, Albany, Peaceful Bay, Augusta and Gnarabup south on the south coast. Coral Bay, Carnarvon, Monkey Mia, and Denham in the Gascoyne have also been covered.

Following processing, the first data is now available to local coastal managers and used to assist in designing appropriate measures to combat erosion issues at each location.This and other bathymetry data is available on DoT’s WA Bathymetry Portal.

The work to date has been funded through the State Government’s CoastWA initiative ($3 million) and the Commonwealth ($1.5 million).

Gathering data is a key element of CoastWA, which aims to provide local managers with additional information to implement the most appropriate strategic response to the growing impacts of coastal hazards.

As stated by Minister Assisting the Minister of Transport David Michael:

“This important work will provide a better understanding of the coastal hazards that have been identified as needing priority and assist the local coastal managers as they respond to the threat.

“The project will provide some key missing pieces to the existing bank of topographic and bathymetric data currently available for the State’s coastline and further build the dataset to ensure we implement the most appropriate response measures to erosion.

“Significant additional funding has been allocated to manage the impacts of coastal erosion and protect WA’s coastline through CoastWA and data collection is a key element of the program along with boosted funding for planning and projects, additional technical expertise, community engagement and monitoring of hotspots.”

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