Monitoring coastal erosion in Anglesea


The Great Ocean Road coast is constantly changing.

While Victoria has a long history of weather variability such as storms, droughts and floods, climate change is projected to increase risks to coastal environments through drivers such as sea-level rise, change in wave-direction and increases in swell energy and storm tide events. These drivers affect coastal erosion, sediment supply and inundation and are expected to vary geographically across Victoria’s coastal zone.

The Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (VCMP) aims to provide communities with information on coastal condition, change, hazards, and the expected longer-term impacts associated with climate change that will support decision making and adaptation planning.

Led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the program is being implemented in partnership with community groups, university institutions, and public land managers including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC). This valuable research will help inform options to minimise the impacts of coastal erosion and understand the impacts of climate change on our coastal environments.

Several sites along the Victorian coast have been chosen for inclusion in the study, including GORCC managed land at Point Roadknight and Demons Bluff in Anglesea. Data collected from the mapping software will be interpreted and used to assist in the planning of future works along the coast.

To help monitor our shorelines, two members from GORCC’s conservation team are currently undertaking training with Deakin University in the use of small aerial drones.  As part of the program, GORCC will coordinate with four local citizen scientists participating in the program.

To find out more about the program and future opportunities to be involved as a citizen scientist, head to www.coastsandmarine.vic.gov.au/coastal-programs/victorian-coastal-monitoring-program.

Photos: GORCC conservation staff undertake drone training with Deakin University.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is a State Government body responsible for protecting, enhancing, and developing coastal Crown land from Point Impossible to Cumberland River.
www.gorcc.com.au

Taking the initiative


The Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary is regularly frequented by a group of local snorkelers from Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Some 12 months ago, this informal group identified that, while the Friends of Point Addis group encompasses Eagle Rock, there was certainly room to establish a standalone friends group.

With Eagle Rock right on the snorkelers’ doorsteps, the group recognised the importance of the sanctuary to the local community – who share a sense of pride in it – and to the snorkeling/diving community (several times a year, it produces conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world).

In addition, members felt that the sanctuary itself would benefit from an organisation that provided opportunities for the general public to engage with it in more meaningful ways (e.g. monitoring, stewardship, training).

Consequently, the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group was created to work on projects specific to the sanctuary.

Noticing that the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary Management Plan (which is incorporated within the Point Addis Management Plan) recommends regular monitoring to compare locations inside and outside of the sanctuary’s boundary, several group members have since put up their hands to bring this monitoring to life.

The group will work with Reef Watch, Sea Search, the Great Victorian Fish Count and Eco-Logic to engage local and visiting school groups, and members of the public in the monitoring project. Plans are also afoot to create an interactive website to educate and engage sanctuary visitors. This would include underwater footage, monitoring data, visitor information and the like.

As the Marine Parks and Sanctuary system is still relatively new, the group is also interested in the management plans for these parks, including how recommendations should be addressed to make the pending review of these documents worthwhile. With questions around the role and importance of marine parks and sanctuaries on the political agenda, the group believes a true understanding of their economic, ecological and social values is yet to be determined.

While still early days, the establishment of the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group illustrates:

  • the value of people who enjoy a common interest joining together to share their passion with others
  • how identifying an existing shortfall can create new opportunities
  • the benefits of taking the initiative on an issue rather than waiting for someone else to take action, and
  • the importance of putting something back into the community or environment rather than taking it for granted.

Story by Andy Gray, Director, Eco-Logic Education and Environment Services