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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Council hopeful of sand returning to eroded Byron beaches

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Clarkes Beach erostion Byron Bay. Photo Steven Hanson

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon says he hopes the worst of the erosion at Clarks Beach and Main Beach at Byron Bay is over.

The Byron Shire Council reported ‘indications’ late last week that sand was returning to the popular beaches.

‘For almost 12 months we have seen this iconic stretch of coastline absolutely stripped of sand and the dunes decimated so it would be terrific to know that we may have seen the worst of this erosion event,’ Cr Lyon said.

‘Aside from the loss of sand, one of the most difficult things for our community to see was metres and metres of vegetation and large trees falling down the steep dune faces to the point where most of it has gone,’ he said.

But the mayor said it was important people understood it may be ‘some years’ before the beach damage was fully repaired.

Council seeking state funds for beach restoration

The council said it had applied for state funding to target the rebuilding and revegetating of the dunes, and restoration of beach access.

Byron Shire Council Coast, Biodiversity and Sustainability Coordinator Chloe Dowsett said vegetation at the eroded beaches was planted approximately 20 years ago by the local Dune Care group, council staff and the community.

‘As terrible as the erosion has been, council staff and scientists have been collecting information that will be important for when the next erosion event happens,’ she said.

‘All our coastline is subject to the ebbs and flows of nature and we know there will be future erosion events.’

Ms Dowsett said monthly aerial images showed a large amount of sand had flowed around Cape Byron into the Bay, filling in the eastern area.

Sand at the Pass was moving onshore, Ms Dowsett said, but was just one sand slug, with more needed to come around the Cape.

‘It is going to take time and there may be some storm or swell events that again scour the beaches,’ Ms Dowsett said.

But the council worker said she hoped such events would be the exception rather than the norm.


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  1. Projected temperature rise from climate change is aprox 4 degrees, which is associated with a rule of thumb aproximate sea level rise of 8 metres. Byron bay is developed from 2.5 metres above sea level. When a 1.5 degree temp rise (on the way to the present projected 4 degree temp rise) occurs then it is the end of Byron Bay as the 1.5 degree associated aprox 3 metre sea level rise will permanently put the town under the sea. There is a long lag from when the 1.5 degree temp rise causes the ocen water expansion and land ice melt to cause the associated 3 metre rise in ocean height, but when we reach just that point on the projected further temp rise, then we can say goodbye to the eventual unavoidable loss of Byron Bay. Australias antarctic area has the worlds largest Glacier and it is melting from above and below and they identify that the melting wont stop and thus eventually (may be a hundred years, or not) just this one glacier will raise sea levels by an aprox 1.5 metres. Baring unknown management by unknown process’ we are in the run down to the loss of Byron Bay to increasing inundation of the sea.


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