Coastal management

Our beaches, dunes, headlands, littoral rainforests, coastal wetlands, creeks and estuaries are essential to the character of the MidCoast Region. Our coastal environment affords our community an enviable lifestyle and draw tourists and visitors to our Region who help drive local economies. These environments support important biodiversity and house many plant and animal species that are endangered and vulnerable.

Council is committed to manage these environments to preserve their quality and appeal, to continue to improve public access and enjoyment and to ensure that protected areas are managed to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem function.

The coast is a particularly dynamic environment. It is continually shaped by coastal processes and is susceptible to acute events like storms. In some locations, coastal processes are conflicting with urban areas and other assets. As the influence of climate change and sea level rise continue to shape coastlines across the world, this conflict and the risks will become more widespread.

NSW Councils are required to prepare coastal management programs (CMP) for their coastal areas to set the long-term strategy for the coordinated management of the coast.

Coastal Management Programs

CMPs identify coastal management issues and the actions required to address these issues in a strategic and integrated way. CMPs detail how and when those actions are to be implemented, their costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms.

CMPs replace the former Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) that were previously prepared under the Coastal Protection Act 1979.

Coastal processes and hazards

The coast is a dynamic environment; constantly changing and responding to weather conditions and long-term coastal processes.

Two coastal processes that are occurring in the region are shoreline recession and coastal erosion.

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion is the loss of beach sediment or sand from the system. Erosion is generally a rapid onset hazard, it occurs quickly, generally over periods of days to weeks as a result of a storm event, storm surge or sustained periods of high-energy waves.

Erosion is part of the natural response of beaches, and generally most beaches recover from this process. The eroded sands are typically returned to the shore, and the beach is rebuilt during calm weather. However, the recovery process relies on the existence of adequate sand provisions to replenish the beach profile.

Shoreline recession

Shoreline recession refers to the progressive landward shift of the average long-term position of the coastline. Recession is different to coastal erosion, in that it is a longer-term process, and occurs over many years or decades and caused by the cumulative long-term loss of sand from the beach sediment compartment over time, and a shift in the position of the beach landward as mean sea level increases.

There is no natural recovery from this event, the land is lost.

Coastal hotspots

The NSW Government has identified 15 coastal 'hotspots' along NSW coastline where the impact of coastal hazards and the risk to assets is particularly high. Two of those hotspots are located within the MidCoast Region - at Jimmys Beach near Hawks Nest and at Old Bar / Manning Point.

The CMP will specifically consider these areas in detail.

Old Bar Manning Point Coastal Management Program

Council is preparing a coastal management program (CMP) for the Old Bar Manning Point (OBMP) coastline ahead of the broader Open Coast Coastal Management Program. Council committed to advance the Old Bar Manning Point CMP ahead of the broader project because of concerns about rapid coastal erosion and shoreline recession in this area and the need to provide the community with a clear direction about how this area is to be managed in the future.

Learn more about the project here

The OBMP CMP extends from Wallabi Point to Crowdy Head and extends 2km inland. It will consider management issues along the entire coastline including coastal erosion and shoreline recession at Old Bar and Manning Point.

The coastal processes at Old Bar and Manning Point have been extensively researched and there has been many studies over several decades exploring engineering and other options to resist these processes and buy time. Links to these studies are provided in the 'supporting information' section below. 

The final study on probabilistic hazard modelling has been completed.

Probalistic hazard modelling (supported by ground-penetrating radar)

Until now, predicted coastal erosion and shoreline recession along the coast was based on observed trends, a good understanding about coastal processes but superficial knowledge of the substrate underlying the area. The ground penetrating radar component of the study provided a detailed understanding of what is below the surface so that the modelling can take this into consideration and provide more accurate predictions about the speed and extent of shoreline recession and coastal erosion.

Probabilistic modelling takes into consideration short-term erosion, long-term recession, sea-level rise and the geological conditions. Modelling was undertaken for the present day, in 2060 and in 2100. A million scenarios for each time period were run to predict the likelihood at each time frame the location of the shoreline and the area where the foundations of building may be compromised.

The report and the accompanying maps are the most accurate representation of the likely impacts on our coastline to 2100.

Read the report

We will be in touch with property owners who are in the areas that may be impacted over the coming months. We encourage anyone in the Old Bar and Manning Point communities to contact Council to discuss the report.

If you wish to speak with Council’s Coastal Planner or organise a time to meet please call (02) 7955 7777.

Open Coast Coastal Management Program

The Open Coast Coastal Management Program (OCCMP) covers the remaining coastline from Crowdy Bay National Park to Tea Gardens and Jimmy’s Beach.

A coastal zone management plan (CZMP) exists for much of this coastline, prepared under the former legislation. The OCCMP will capture the CZMP in the new format and update any studies and other requirements.

More information will be provided as this project advances.

Coastal Zone Management Plans

Under the formers Coastal Protection Act 11979, Councils were required to prepare coastal zone management plans (CZMPs) for their coastal areas. These are gradually being replaced by Coastal Management Programs under the Coastal Management Act 2016.

The following CZMPs are still currently for the MidCoast Council Area:

Supporting information

The following list of studies and reports support the former and existing coastal zone management plans.

Great Lakes

Further investigations on Boomerang Beach and Blueys Beach using ground penetrating radar to clarify subsurface conditions: