A new coastal protection project in Cockburn

C.Y. O’Connor Beach in the City of Cockburn has a rich recreational, industrial, and cultural history.  As urban expansion and the impacts of storms increases pressure on the natural environment of the beach, the City of Cockburn, in association with the community, has implemented innovative actions to manage these impacts.

C.Y. O’Connor Beach has experienced a dramatic loss of its dune system in recent years. The well-used coastal dual use path, a popular walking and cycling resource linking Cockburn with Fremantle, was lost, and reinstated further back from the original dune line after protective dune vegetation washed away during storm events. 

The City, with support from Coastwest and the community, has commenced a two-part program to stabilise the dunes and buffer the foreshore from storm impacts. 

Onshore, a buried geotextile sand container seawall is being constructed and will be followed by a community planting program to stabilise and revegetate the coastal dunes. 

Offshore from the seawall, the City has installed a wave attenuating reef comprising 135 concrete modules to protect the coastline in a project with Henderson-based company Subcon. 

It is anticipated that this engineered fringing reef will dissipate wave energy during storm events with the added benefit of creating additional habitat for marine life. 

The City and The University of Western Australia will implement a monitoring program and research to measure beach profile changes and conduct seasonal surveys to assess the reef’s impact on erosion. 

It is anticipated the project will improve the coastal environment of C.Y. O’Connor Beach, provide an additional resource for recreational snorkelling, and expand the community’s understanding of the local marine environment.

Engineered reef module. Photo Credit: Cockburn Coastcare.

Author: Craig Wilson, Cockburn Coastcare.

Feature Photo: An aerial view of the completed engineered fringing reef at C. Y. O’Connor Beach in the City of Cockburn. Photo Credit: Subcon.