Port of Ashburton

A coastal processes management plan for shifting sands

The Port of Ashburton was built to help export liquefied natural gas from Onslow, Western Australia. The coastline in the region is highly dynamic, resulting in the sand building up on beaches west of the port while beaches to the east were being eroded.

10 December 2019

Best of BMT - Shifting Sands

A management plan was established during the environmental approvals process to help monitor the nearby beaches and identify when management actions would be needed.

When regular monitoring detected the build-up of over 200,000 cubic metres of sand on the western side of the port, it triggered the plan to remove some of the accumulated sand and use it to supplement the sand on the eroding beaches. This was a challenging task due to the remote location, the lack of supporting infrastructure, and the hazardous facilities nearby.

We first provided a comprehensive options assessment of methods for moving the sand, including details of where to place it along with the associated costs, benefits, impacts and risks. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this initial options assessment, we were subsequently awarded the contract to provide engineering design, environmental impact assessment and project management of the sand bypassing operations. Some of the key challenges included designing beach access routes, avoiding impacts of heavy vehicles on pipelines and structures, optimising the sand extraction design and ensuring that the sand placement would not have any unintended impact on the environment.

Thanks to our multidisciplinary team’s significant project knowledge as well as their client engagement and technical expertise, we were able to successfully deliver the project to the satisfaction of the customer and stakeholders.





Man walking along sandy beach

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