Beachgoers and dunes at risk


It might seem like fun but playing in sand dunes can not only destroy these areas but can be dangerous.

Coastal conservationists are sending out the message- stay safe and keep out of the dunes!

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Projects Manager, Mike Bodsworth said running and jumping on dunes could be great fun but caused serious damage to the vegetation which holds the dunes together.

It might look like fun, but playing on the dunes is prohibited to preserve native vegetation along the Surf Coast.

Have you noticed anyone entering the dunes in your area?

“Dunes that are stripped of native vegetation commonly develop ‘blow-outs’, or large gullies of wind-blown sand.“Over time these gullies become larger and are extremely difficult to rehabilitate,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Torquay Coast Action (TCA) is a local group dedicated towards shaping, restoring and maintaining the environmental integrity of coastal dunes.

TCA President Glenda Shomaly, said the fragile dunes, desperately needed to be looked after, and that plants were vital to the future of the dunes.

“It doesn’t take much to loosen the vegetation holding the dune together and kill the roots causing erosion and ‘blow-outs’,” she said.

Mr. Bodsworth said playing in the dunes could not only threaten the natural environment but there were hidden dangers for beachgoers as well.

It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes.

“It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Have you noticed any dunes which are developing gullies or blowouts?

Ensuring kids utilise the designated areas such as playgrounds and reserves on the foreshore will prevent further damage to the fragile coastal dunes. Click here for location maps of playgrounds and reserves on the Surf Coast.

Surf Coast Shire local laws prohibit access to dunes unless on designated pathways, the laws apply to all fenced and unfenced sand dune areas.

Where an area is unfenced, the ban applies to the entire sand dune starting from the bottom part closest to the sea.

The vegetation on the dunes holds them together when this vegetation is destroyed the dunes begin to recede.

“You can help to protect our dunes and stay safe by staying to designated paths and tracks, and staying off the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

For more information about protecting the dunes and our coastal environment visit the GORCC website www.gorcc.com.au.

TCA conduct regular working bees, for more information or to volunteer contact Glenda Shomaly on 5261 6266 or click here to visit the GORCC volunteers page on our website.

This column appeared in the Surf Coast Times fortnightly Greent the Coast Column.

Your input into the management of the coast is much appreciated and we’d love to hear from you.

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