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).



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    This summer there are increasing small rocks on the beach so many now it is really difficult to get into the water and often to walk on the shoreline. Much worse than ever before . Can these be removed ?

    Charlotte Meiri asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

     A sand screening and remnant seawall removal works campaign was recently completed during October to December 2021. These works involved removal and disposal of over 500ton of small rock, fragments and debris from the beach. The screening area extended out into the water as far as practical however it appears that small rock from outside of the accessible areas, has migrated to the beach and swash zone with the summer weather conditions.

     At this stage there is no immediate plan or funding available to complete another sand screening or rock removal campaign. 

     When Fremantle Harbour was constructed, during 1892 to 1901 approximately 10,000,000 tonnes of sand and rock was placed onto the shoreline of Port Beach artificially pushing the shoreline much further offshore than it otherwise would be. Additional sand and rock was also placed in the area during various Fremantle Harbour expansions through the 1920’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. 

     It would not be feasibly possible to remove all of this rock and hence, accumulation of some small rocks on the beach may occur from time to time going forward.

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    For the Port Beach, sand nourishment via dredging project, what company are you hiring workers from? Also, are they shift workers? If not, have you considered the guidelines on the overtime and work hours shown on here: https://www.abcc.gov.au/your-rights-and-responsibilities/wages-and-entitlements/pay/overtime-and-hours-work

    Nat asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    The successful Contractor for the sand nourishment and dredging works will be appointed through an appropriate procurement process subject to the requirements of the Project Working Team organisations. The Contractor will be required to comply with all relevant legal requirements and labour laws.

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