First data from $4.5m WA coastal mapping project

By on 24 June, 2024
The coastline near Carnarvon in Western Australia. Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Katherine

Initial datasets from a $4.5 million aerial LiDAR survey of Western Australia’s south coast and Gascoyne regions, is now available to coastal managers.

As part of the Coast Capture WA program, the Department of Transport (DoT) contracted Fugro to map the coast from Esperance to Barrow Island, targeting erosion hotspots.

Those hotspots were identified in a report published in 2019 that listed 55 locations where coastal erosion is expected to be a risk to coastal values and assets, as well as 31 ‘watch list’ locations for future investigation.

The new high-resolution data was produced by a LiDAR-equipped aircraft, which commenced work in March to capture topographic and bathymetric data of the foreshore and seabed out to approximately 20 metres depth.

The locations covered were Bremer Bay, Albany, Peaceful Bay, Augusta and Gnarabup South on the state’s south coast, as well as Coral Bay, Carnarvon, Monkey Mia and Denham in the Gascoyne region.

This and other bathymetry data is available on DoT’s WA Bathymetry Portal and can be used by coastal managers to design measures to combat erosion.

The mapping project is part of a $33.5 million, five-year plan to better manage and protect Western Australia’s coastline.

The $4.5 contract work to date has been funded through the state government’s CoastWA initiative ($3 million) and the Commonwealth ($1.5 million).

“This important work will provide a better understanding of the coastal hazards that have been identified as needing priority and assist the local coastal managers as they respond to the threat,” said WA’s Minister Assisting the Minister of Transport, David Michael.

“The project will provide some key missing pieces to the existing bank of topographic and bathymetric data currently available for the State’s coastline and further build the dataset to ensure we implement the most appropriate response measures to erosion,” the Minister added.

“Significant additional funding has been allocated to manage the impacts of coastal erosion and protect WA’s coastline through CoastWA and data collection is a key element of the program along with boosted funding for planning and projects, additional technical expertise, community engagement and monitoring of hotspots.”

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