New study into Portsea waves

A THIRD wave monitoring and modelling investigation is to be carried out at the badly eroded Portsea front beach.

The $290,000 investigation will cover Port Phillip Heads, the Great Sands and the shoreline from Pt Nepean to Portsea and is expected to take 18 months.

The two earlier studies were reviewed by the CSIRO which noted that there is limited wave measurement data in this part of the bay, limiting the accuracy to which any model can be calibrated and adding a degree of uncertainty to any results.

Both studies recommended more extensive measurements of waves as they move into the bay from Bass Strait so that any further modelling could be precisely calibrated with some data and then later verified with other data.

This latest move follows ongoing public consternation over loss of the beach near the pier and along the front of Portsea Hotel.

Many resident s claim the problems began soon after channel deepening commissioned by the Port of Melbourne Corporation ended in 2009.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries has hired Worley Parsons to carry out the study.

The money for the investigation comes from the Port Phillip Program budget and aims to provide wave and tide data to determine options for the future management of the beach.

“Following consultation with community representatives and a rigorous selection process, an engineering consultant with coastal expertise has been appointed to carry out this work,” member for Nepean Martin Dixon said last week.

The company, Worley Parsons, will measure currents, waves and tides and will attempt to accurately model the wave climate, including seasonal wave patterns off-shore from Portsea.

“Coastal erosion is a process affecting beaches around the world and, unfortunately, beaches in Port Phillip Bay are no exception,” Mr Dixon said.

The minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, said the state government shared community concerns about the value of the beach. He said he was pleased the work was set to begin.

“Victorians value the state’s natural assets, [and] that’s why we have invested more than $9 million over four years into the Protection of Port Phillip Beaches and Foreshores Program,” he said.

“A further $7.5 million over four years is being invested for the Coastal Environment Program to manage coastal risks, storm damage and deliver on capital works.”

Mr Smith said the government was committed to providing authorities with the resources they needed to effectively manage the coastal environment.

The DEPI says it will keep residents up to date during the course of the study.