The Portsea Front Beach has suffered very serious erosion since deepening of the shipping channel in Port Phillip Bay that was completed in November 2009.
The project proceeded with approvals from the Victorian state government (Tim Pallas, Minister for Roads and Ports) and the Australian federal government (Peter Garrett, Environment Minister) with assurances and reports stating that no environmental damage would result.
Increased water flow speed and volume through the Port Phillip Bay heads after the Channel Deepening Project is a possible and likely cause of this. However, this has been denied by the authority charged with monitoring the environmental impact of the project.
A spokesman for the Office of the Environmental Monitor, Don Hough, says the bay has coped well since the dredging finished.
“The data is in to be able to demonstrate that that certainly is not attributable to the tidal height changes that have been recorded since the completion of dredging”
The Victorian State Government seems to have made no comment on this issue to date.
Serious erosion on evident on 20 June 2010
A visit to beach on 20 June 2010 revealed that the beach almost completely gone. Waves were pounding at the footing of the Portsea pier that has been there for several decades, and at the vegetation that used to be protected by a reasonable beach. People used to sunbath on the beach, and it used to stretching a third of the distance to the first landing on the pier.
Two large erosion barrages were in place to stop the footing of the pier being destroyed. The height of the water and the size of the waves were both greatly increased.
Restoration works in progress on 23 August 2010
On Monday 23 August 2010 the protection barrages were gone and a lot of rock had been placed around the base of the pier where it connects to the shore.
Several B-Double trucks were delivering loads of sand to the beach. Two front end loaders were pushing the sand along and onto the beach attempting to restore it. There was a massive plume of sand as it was being washed away almost immediately out to sea. It looks like a very expensive and loosing battle.
A stated that the beach had been “rebuilt” a week ago but that most it had then been stripped way again. The front end loaders were perilously close to toppling into the waves as their sand ramp was being eroded.
- Tides of change strip Portsea of its sand, Lauren Wilson, The Australian May 10, 2010
- Life’s not so swell on the beach at Portsea, Adam Morton, The Age, June 5, 2010
- Wikipedia:Channel Deepening Project
- Dredging blamed for Portsea beach erosion, Alison Caldwell, May 5, 2010