Our Coastal Future - Port Beach

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Port Beach sand nourishment project about to start

The second phase of combating coastal erosion by depositing thousands of cubic metres of sand at Port Beach will commence in the coming weeks.

Subject to final safety plans being approved, an initial placement volume of around 30,000m3 of sand is expected to be placed to the swash zone of Port Beach over a two-week period, with the remaining up to 120,000m3 to be placed during 2023. The works schedule may vary depending on weather conditions.

Sand will be dredged from the Fremantle Port’s Deep Water Channel and ‘rainbowed’ onto the beach. As shown in the image below, rainbowing involves the pumping of a mixture of dredged sand and water through a hose with a nozzle, into a high arc through the air and onto the nearshore area.

An example of a 'rainbowing' sand nourishment project undertaken on the Gold Coast in 2017.

What to expect

  • There will be some localised impact to beach use during the works. For safety reasons, access to certain areas of the beach, including Sandtrax beach, will be restricted during the works.
  • Water depths and wave conditions will be modified and hence the surf may be unpredictable.
  • It’s likely that as ‘wet’ sand is deposited, odour may be generated. This is expected to dissipate relatively quickly.
  • Sand placed on the beach may first appear darker than the existing beach, but this is expected to fade over time.
  • Dredging and nourishment works will be planned around periods of high tide, so there will likely be some works occurring at night.
  • The dredging and rainbowing works are not expected to impact access to facilities such as parking, change rooms, the Surf Life Saving Facility and commercial food and beverage outlets.

To receive regular project updates, we encourage you to join our mailing list or refer to our Project Updates below.

For more background information on coastal erosion at Port Beach or for more details on the sand nourishment via dredge project, please refer to our FAQs.

An evolving coastline...

This area has undergone substantial changes since the late 1800s with significant impacts from urban development altering the coastline. Port Beach is essentially an artificial beach that was shaped by the early construction work associated with the Fremantle Harbour and Fremantle Port.

The area has continued evolving over the decades, including the more recent Rous Head extension and realignment of Port Beach Road. Various historical uses and developments have resulted in hard infrastructure surrounding Port Beach.

Port Beach is one of Fremantle’s popular beaches, accessed by locals and visitors year round. To browse the history of Port Beach and how it has changed over time, browse the slideshow below.

Historical data confirms that coastal processes such as wind, currents and waves, as well as sea level rise, have contributed to erosion at Port Beach over the last 23 years. The most recent event in 2018 caused significant damage with the receding shoreline compromising the Port Beach car park.

All coastal local governments are required by state planning policy to identify potential coastal hazards and plan for risk management and adaptation. The City of Fremantle coastal hazard assessment carried out in 2016 and 2017 identified the Port Beach area, including Sandtrax Beach, is highly vulnerable to immediate and future coastal erosion. You can find out more in the Port, Leighton and Mosman Beaches Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP).



Port Beach sand nourishment project about to start

The second phase of combating coastal erosion by depositing thousands of cubic metres of sand at Port Beach will commence in the coming weeks.

Subject to final safety plans being approved, an initial placement volume of around 30,000m3 of sand is expected to be placed to the swash zone of Port Beach over a two-week period, with the remaining up to 120,000m3 to be placed during 2023. The works schedule may vary depending on weather conditions.

Sand will be dredged from the Fremantle Port’s Deep Water Channel and ‘rainbowed’ onto the beach. As shown in the image below, rainbowing involves the pumping of a mixture of dredged sand and water through a hose with a nozzle, into a high arc through the air and onto the nearshore area.

An example of a 'rainbowing' sand nourishment project undertaken on the Gold Coast in 2017.

What to expect

  • There will be some localised impact to beach use during the works. For safety reasons, access to certain areas of the beach, including Sandtrax beach, will be restricted during the works.
  • Water depths and wave conditions will be modified and hence the surf may be unpredictable.
  • It’s likely that as ‘wet’ sand is deposited, odour may be generated. This is expected to dissipate relatively quickly.
  • Sand placed on the beach may first appear darker than the existing beach, but this is expected to fade over time.
  • Dredging and nourishment works will be planned around periods of high tide, so there will likely be some works occurring at night.
  • The dredging and rainbowing works are not expected to impact access to facilities such as parking, change rooms, the Surf Life Saving Facility and commercial food and beverage outlets.

To receive regular project updates, we encourage you to join our mailing list or refer to our Project Updates below.

For more background information on coastal erosion at Port Beach or for more details on the sand nourishment via dredge project, please refer to our FAQs.

An evolving coastline...

This area has undergone substantial changes since the late 1800s with significant impacts from urban development altering the coastline. Port Beach is essentially an artificial beach that was shaped by the early construction work associated with the Fremantle Harbour and Fremantle Port.

The area has continued evolving over the decades, including the more recent Rous Head extension and realignment of Port Beach Road. Various historical uses and developments have resulted in hard infrastructure surrounding Port Beach.

Port Beach is one of Fremantle’s popular beaches, accessed by locals and visitors year round. To browse the history of Port Beach and how it has changed over time, browse the slideshow below.

Historical data confirms that coastal processes such as wind, currents and waves, as well as sea level rise, have contributed to erosion at Port Beach over the last 23 years. The most recent event in 2018 caused significant damage with the receding shoreline compromising the Port Beach car park.

All coastal local governments are required by state planning policy to identify potential coastal hazards and plan for risk management and adaptation. The City of Fremantle coastal hazard assessment carried out in 2016 and 2017 identified the Port Beach area, including Sandtrax Beach, is highly vulnerable to immediate and future coastal erosion. You can find out more in the Port, Leighton and Mosman Beaches Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP).



  • Project Update June - Sand Nourishment via Dredging Project to address coastal erosion at Port Beach

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    Seawall protection at Port Beach

    In addition to the sand nourishment via dredging program, WA Limestone have been engaged to construct a new section of temporary seawall fronting the unprotected stretch of the Port Beach Carpark. The works will reuse the large rocks stockpiled in the Sandtrax car park, collected during phase 1 of the project. Due to the busy market and WA Limestone’s current commitments, works are scheduled to commence in early July 2022.

    Project Update June 2022

    In December 2021, phase 1 of the sand nourishment via dredge project was completed. This comprised of sand screening for rocks along the beach between Sandtrax and 200 m south of Tydeman Road and removal of the remnant seawall. The project working team comprising the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Ports and Department of Transport, have since been working through the approvals and procurement process to progress phase 2 works.

    Phase 2 of the project involves:

    • the supply of up to 150,000m3 of sand for beach nourishment at Port Beach between Sandtrax and Coast restaurant;
    • sand dredged from the Fremantle Port’s Deep Water Channel will be placed into the nearshore at Port Beach by “rainbowing” methodology;
    • the works are likely to commence in July 2022 and be completed in October 2022. This will be followed by approximately 4 weeks of dune creation stabilisation, and revegetation in Spring 2022.


    Contractor negotiations for Phase 2

    Negotiations with the preferred Contractor for the Dredging and Sand Nourishment works, are progressing and works are expected to commence in July 2022. It is anticipated that the works will progress over approximately 4 months due to dredge availability and other considerations such as tides, and weather conditions.

    Once the preferred contractor is appointed, the preferred methodology for placing the sand on the beach will be finalised. A Trailer Suction Hopper type dredge will be employed and it is likely the material will be placed onto the beach via rainbowing. An image of this method is provide below.


    Rainbowing methodology



    Environmental Approvals and Management

    A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed for the project. Importantly, the EIA has determined, that based on the best practice environmental management plans that we have in place, any environmental impact is not expected to be significant.

    The impact assessment has been informed by a number of required environmental investigations, including;

    1. sampling of the sand sourced from the Deep Water Channel;
    2. mapping of seagrass and benthic habitats;
    3. dredge plume modelling; and
    4. sand transport modelling.


    These studies, along with the EIA and environmental management plans, were submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their review in late 2021. The EPA has since determined that the environmental effects of the proposal are not so significant to warrant a formal assessment and approval has been granted.


    Key management plans and mitigating key risks

    Two key environmental management plans have been prepared:

    The dredging environmental management plan - includes measures for monitoring and management of key environmental factors during the works including water quality, seagrass and benthic habitats. As part of this plan, seabed light levels, water quality and water clarity will be monitored during the dredging and sand nourishment works. Deployment of monitoring equipment will in June, prior to nourishment works.

    The coastal processes monitoring and management plan - includes measures to monitor the movement of the sand placed in the swash zone, along the beach, ensuring that it is behaving as expected. This is likely to see sand placed on the beach, moved onto shore over a couple of summer and winter seasons.

    Movement of the placed sand over the coming years will ultimately depend on weather conditions, which can be variable, so this plan allows for the actual movement of the sand to be traced. This plan is largely based on the City of Fremantle’s existing coastal monitoring program, supporting a cost effective approach.

    For more information on the EIA and environmental management plans – please visit the project website


    Stay Informed or for further enquiries

    Subscribe to project email notifications by clicking on the QR Code or via our project webpage at https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/port-beach


    Alternatively, please contact the City’s Customer Service Line on 1300 MY FREO (1300 693 736) or you can email info@fremantle.wa.gov.au or ask a question at https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/port-beach


  • Project Update - February 2022

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    As we move into 2022, phase 1 works are now complete at Port Beach. At the end of December 2021, Contractor Castle Civil completed the removal of the remnant seawall and sand screening for rocks along the beach between Sandtrax and 200 m south of Tydeman Road. Whilst Castle Civil cleaned Port Beach as much as practical, it appears that some small rock from outside of the accessible areas, has migrated to the beach and swash zone. The focus of the phase 1 program of works was to prepare the beach for phase 2 and the sand nourishment program.

    During the extraction program, a considerable amount of larger rocks were uncovered, which has been temporarily stockpiled at the Sandtrax car park. The project team is currently working through a number of options of how that rock will be handled.

    In the meantime, planning for Phase 2 works is continuing. With the City, in collaboration with the Fremantle Ports and Department of Transport, working through the environmental approvals process, which includes consulting with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

    The City has engaged a coastal engineering and environmental management consultancy, who have prepared an environmental management plan for the Phase 2 program of works. The plan includes environmental monitoring and management measures that will be implemented during Phase 2, to ensure the potential environmental impacts are mitigated.

    It is anticipated that the Phase 2 program of works will commence after Summer 2022 to minimise the impact on the seagrass habitat as well as to minimise disruption to beach users.

    Find out more about the history and coastal processes at Port Beach


    Have you seen the new information sign installed at Port Beach? It provides information on the long and significant history of development and changes to the shoreline at Port Beach. As well as the coastal processes contributing to erosion and the outcomes the sand nourishment.

    We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their patience and understanding during the delivery of Phase 1 and any inconvenience these works may have caused.

    Rocks are often exposed at low tide at Sandtrax. Whilst the prevailing summer conditions continue to contribute to the sand movement along Port Beach, following the completion of sand screening at Sandtrax, many rocks, that were often a public safety hazard, have been removed where practical.

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  • Project Update - November 2021

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    supporting image

    Phase 1 works are underway at Port Beach, with the contractor commencing the removal of the remnant seawall and sand screening for rocks at the southern end at Sandtrax. Whilst the extraction program is progressing, more remnant seawall rocks have been uncovered outside the anticipated locations. Along with unexpected weather conditions, where two October storms significantly impacted the project site, progress at the southern end has been slowed.

    The contractor is expected to complete the works at Sandtrax towards the middle of November before transitioning to the northern end of Port Beach (opposite Coast restaurant). Sand screening for small rocks will then progress southwards along the beach and shoreline to meet the Sandtrax end and it is anticipated this stage will take 2-3 weeks, with the program of works being fully completed in mid - December.

    To ensure the safety of beach users, the extracted armour rock will be stockpiled at Sandtrax car park, whilst the City investigates options for the potential re-use of the rock at Port Beach. Therefore, car parking will be very limited at Sandtrax and the City is encouraging beach users to park at Port Beach..

    As part of the Phase 1 program of works, the contractor is targeting priority areas where rock is known to accumulate, identified through previous investigations, observations and public feedback. It is expected that not all rock will be able to be removed from some areas, due to its location such as in deeper water. Rock can also be transported back into previously screened areas by the natural processes of a dynamic coastal environment such as Port Beach.




    Rock extracted from Port Beach is being temporarily stockpiled at Sandtrax



  • Phase 1 - Site Works Commence October, 2021

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    The City has recently engaged a contractor for phase 1 and works are anticipated to commence from early October 2021, taking approximately 4 – 8 weeks to complete.


    What to expect?

    For the safety of the public and to minimise disruption, a series of safety measures and construction management plans have been put in place including:

    • Works will be carried out between the hours of 7am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    • Sections of the southern car park, main car park and beach access points will be closed to the public to enable the safe movement of construction vehicles to and from the works area.

    • The program of works will commence at Sandtrax Beach and move in a northwards direction, with the work site barricaded at all times for the safety of beach users.

    • The works will involve earthworks machinery and a sand screening plant working on the beach and shifting material to stockpiles located in the closed areas of carpark. There will also be trucks entering and leaving the site from time to time.


    Whilst public safety measures will be put in place, visitors to Port Beach will still be able to access open areas of the beach and water during the program of works and outside of construction hours.


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  • Coastal Adaptation Options Report

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    by Rhiannon,

    You can access the Port Beach Coastal Adaptation Options Report by visiting the document library or clicking here. Please note the large file size.

  • Details of Council Item

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    by Rhiannon,

    The Council item on 11 December will present the Port Beach Coastal Adaptation Options Report (2019), and recommends adopting a policy position of managed retreat as the preferred strategy for responding to coastal erosion risk at Port Beach and Leighton Beach, noting managed retreat is implemented over an extended timeframe.

    It also recommends the City progress with the Coastal Adaptation and Protection grant funded project to implement the recommendations made in the Report (2019) to resolve the preferred concept and funding arrangements that will address coastal erosion risk up to 2040.

    Full details of the recommendation can be found in the agenda: www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/council/agendas-and-minutes

    Managed Retreat
    The City proposes a managed retreat strategy for Port Beach that includes consideration of the impacts on adjacent beaches and existing infrastructure and advocates for appropriate planning mechanisms to support the strategy. It would be implemented over an extended timeframe to ensure that social, environmental and economic costs are minimised.

    The managed retreat strategy would include:
    • Removal of City assets in the erosion risk zone.
    • Provision of City assets to meet public recreation amenity requirements on an interim basis while longer term planning is undertaken. Assets will have a defined design life and ability relocate once risk becomes intolerable and will be subject to budget considerations.
    • Engagement with the Western Australian Planning Commission on the preparation of a precinct plan for the area to resolve coastal setbacks, transport and access, recreation needs, landscape and land use with a view to establishing an enduring and sustainable beach, and advancing integrated planning for this.
    • Phasing of actions with reference to the current and immediate risks, implementation of a final coastal adaptation option to 2040 and planning and implementation to support a post-2040 scenario.


  • Council decision

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    by Rhiannon,

    Council item

    An report addressing the current extreme coastal hazard and risk management actions for Port Beach and a progress update on recommendations is going to the Ordinary Council meeting on 11 December 2019.

    The full report is now available on the City's website.


    Council meeting details

    This item will be presented at the Ordinary Council Meeting Wednesday 11 December 2019, 6.00pm at the North Fremantle Community Hall, 2 Thompson Rd North Fremantle.

    View the agenda by clicking here or visiting: www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/council/agendas-and-minutes

    Members of the public are welcome to ask a question, make a statement or just observe the proceedings at open Council and committee meetings. To find out more see the community participation section on the City of Fremantle website: www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/council/mayor-and-councillors/council-and-committee-meetings

  • Analysis & Next Steps

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    by Rhiannon,

    The Port Beach Values survey outcomes and considerations of stakeholders of both the beach and surrounding infrastructure were assessed alongside a range of criteria such as technical feasibility. This was combined into a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) to evaluate coastal risk management options.

    The sustainable retention of the beach has come into focus through the study and has raised a number of issues which required further, coordinated investigation to create a long term plan for the sustainable management of the coastal reserve.

    The City is encouraged by the work so far and is exploring all options and finalising the analysis. A report to Council is being prepared and is anticipated to go to the November 2019 committee and Council meetings. All participants and those who have registered will be updated when the agenda is ready and this page will be updated with the latest news.


  • Survey Report

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    by Rhiannon,

    Thank you to everyone who completed the Port Beach Values Survey. We received 214 responses and the results can be accessed here.

Page last updated: 30 Jun 2022, 05:14 PM