In-depth survey maps ocean floor at Kingscliff

Survey data used to monitor beach erosion patterns

Ever wondered how beach erosion is monitored in the Tweed?  It might be more hands-on than you think.

Every six months when ocean conditions are good, Council borrows an inflatable rescue boat (IRB) from the Cudgen Headland Surf Club and meets early on Kingscliff Beach.

Council_officers_Mitch_Liddell,_St115908_640Photo: Council officers Mitch Liddell, Steve Sharp and Warren Boyd between check points

After completing a thorough safety check, two Council officers launch the boat.

A surveyor in a wetsuit and fins then wades into the ocean, carrying a prism on a long pole. Meanwhile, a small survey team with instruments takes its position at a fixed point on the beach.

The surveyor in the water wades out on a predetermined line, placing the pole on the ocean floor at set points, allowing the prism to signal back to the survey station on the beach.

The information from each point is recorded, allowing Council to map any changes in sand levels since the last survey.

Registered_Surveyor_Mitch_Liddell_120104_640Photo: Registered Surveyor Mitch Liddell takes a reading of the ocean floor.

Registered Surveyor Mitch Liddell travels out approximately 500 metres, being guided by the officers in the IRB and stopping every 20 to 30 metres to secure the pole and ensure the surveyors onshore can pick up the signal.

“The measurements are used to work out the depth of the sea floor, helping to determine how much sand has moved since the last measurement and how much sand will stay on the beach, according to differences and patterns in previous records,” Mr Liddell said.

Council’s Senior Engineer – Civil Design, Warren Boyd, said the survey is repeated from four fixed positions along Kingscliff Beach and five positions on South Beach.  Provided ocean conditions remain good, the entire survey takes a day to complete.

“Collecting this data helps create a timeline that reveals what is really happening below the waterline,” Mr Boyd said.

“We started monitoring when the erosion was quite severe in 2011 due to swells coming from the east and north-east rather than the south, but we also have historical monitoring dating back to the 1970s to compare today’s levels with.”

Council’s Manager Design, Paul Morgan, said surveying was a key element in nearly every job undertaken.

“Before every project, be it a bridge, road, carpark, waterway or major stormwater system, the survey team examine and record the area and its features to construct a map, plan or description for the next steps,” Mr Morgan said.

“Monitoring and profiling beach erosion  is no different.”

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
Tuesday 3 May, 2016
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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Map, Big Volcano Towns : Kingscliff


Shorebird protection campaign will target fox activity

A new campaign by Council and North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) will target foxes and work with local schools to protect shorebirds along the Tweed Coast.

Council and NCLLS will undertake fox control on Crown Land and Council-owned land along the coast between Kingscliff and Wooyung.  “Tweed Shire is home to a number of birds of high conservation value that nest on the ground, such as the Little Tern, the Beach Stone-curlew and the Pied Oystercatcher,” Council’s Pest Management Program Leader, Pam Gray, said.

"Shorebirds of the Tweed" signage at Chinderah Bay


Photo: “Shorebirds of the Tweed” signage at Chinderah Bay, by J. Palmer

“Introduced predators such as European foxes pose a significant threat to the successful breeding of shorebirds, because they feed on their eggs and chicks.”  Trained dogs will be used to locate fox dens in the targeted coastal areas and the dens will be fumigated to humanely euthanase the foxes.

The project to protect Tweed Coast shorebirds builds upon existing projects by Council, the NSW Environmental Trust and Birdlife Northern Rivers. Ms Gray said the fox control measures would be accompanied by a new education and awareness campaign about shorebird protection, focusing on schools in the area.

“We will provide education programs at two public schools on the Tweed Coast, to teach children about the shorebirds that call the Tweed home,” she said.

“The program will also raise awareness about the importance of protecting these shorebirds from the threats of predators and the potential impacts of people.  “School programs to educate young people are often one of the most effective way to spread the word about issues of animal conservation.”

For more information about the program, visit
or contact Pam Gray on (02) 6670 2400.

Originally published in Tweed Link Issue 906, 5 May 2015.