Central Coast Council has started the dredging program for The Entrance Channel.
The program is set to continue through the coming months, in accordance with the EPA licence and other environmental constraints, and will be conducted in two stages.
Mayor Lisa Matthews said it was important to see the program get underway.
“Dredging The Entrance channel is important for our community, and I am glad to see the 2020-21 program begin,” Mayor Matthews said.
“The sand from the dredging program will ultimately be used to nourish the highly eroded North Entrance Beach, but will first be used in the preparation of staging, or work areas, near Karagi Reserve.”
Council Director Environment and Planning, Scott Cox, said the dredging program would look a little different to previous years, but that it was necessary to ensure that Council met its environmental obligations.
“Council has been working with coastal experts Royal HaskoningDHV to develop a program that meets the NSW EPA’s licencing requirements,” Cox said.
“This means that Council will now be pumping the dredged sand to the areas inside the channel near Karagi reserve where it will be ‘dewatered’ before being manually moved to areas that we plan to nourish, including North Entrance Beach.
“This process will be slower than previous years as the sand will have to be handled twice, and will mean that the community will need to take extra care while the heavy machinery moves around on the beaches.
“However, the program will remove an estimated 30,000 cubic metres of sand from the channel.
“Our dredging plan also takes into consideration the imminent arrival of the Little Terns and I want to assure the community that we are taking measures to mitigate any impact on them while dredging is taking place.
“As part of the preparation of our dredging plans, Council has engaged ornithologists (bird specialists) to help develop an appropriate plan.
“We will continue to monitor for the arrival of the Little Terns and when they arrive, we will seek further advice on the continuation of the program.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said: “In February, the NSW Government provided $600,000 to dredge The Entrance Channel and I am pleased that work is finally getting underway.
“Council has matched this funding on a dollar-for-dollar basis, allowing for a $1.2M dredging project.”
Council mobilised its resources last week in preparation for dredging.
Council’s Acting Environment and Planning Director, Andrew Roach, said a site compound was set up last week, with site offices, sheds and security in place.
“The Entrance community and visitors to the area will start to see it develop over the next two days, including the arrival of sheds, piping and machinery,” Roach said on Thursday.
“Once the compound is in place, Council will begin the necessary preparations, including testing and staff training, with the aim to have dredging start within a fortnight.
“We know that many are looking forward to seeing the start of the program, but we ask that the community stay away from the area, so that Council can get the preparations for dredging underway as soon as possible.”
Mayor Lisa Matthews said it was timely for preparations to get underway for the commencement of the dredging program.
“We love and care for our waterways on the Coast and dredging The Entrance channel is important for our community,” Mayor Matthews said.
“The dredging program is carried out to help maintain tidal exchange between the ocean and the estuary.
“To see the 2020-21 program progressing is encouraging.”
Media Releases Sep 9 and 12
Central Coast Council