What is the purpose of the Blacksmiths Beach Surf Assessment?

    We're undertaking a surf amenity assessment to better understand sand movements occurring at the southern end of Blacksmiths Beach.

    How can I get involved in the project?

    You can register to be part of the project and keep up to date with the progress and any opportunities to contribute ideas or provide feedback. You can also ask the project team a question, which will be answered publicly or privately depending upon the information shared in your question.

    Register to Shape Lake Mac to always be kept up to date with Lake Mac projects and know what’s happening around your City.

    How is the research being undertaken?

    We're working with consultants to perform a review and analysis of long-term aerial imagery of Blacksmiths Beach, stretching 78 years from 1941 to present day. This imagery will demonstrate long-term trends and may help us understand the impacts to surf amenity we are experiencing now.

    A temporary camera has also been installed to capture beach usage statistics and morphological changes at Blacksmiths Beach. It takes hourly images during daylight hours to provide valuable information about sediment transport processes.

    The consultants will also undertake a Surf Zone Bathymetry Survey to assess the current water depth and sand bank formation. They will then use all the captured data to create a report which will aim to help us better understand what is happening in regards to Surf Amenity at Blacksmiths Beach.

    Which consultants has Council engaged to undertake this assessment?

    University of NSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL) has been employed by LMCC to undertake a surf amenity assessment which will aim to provide some answers as to what is happening at the Southern end of Blacksmiths Beach in relation to sediment transportation.

    How will the consultants examine long-term trends?

    WRL has proposed to perform a review and analysis of long-term aerial imagery of Blacksmiths Beach using data compiled from satellites, recent aerial photography and historical photogrammetry imagery. This catalogue of aerial imagery will be collated and orthorectified by removing the effects of image perspective and then animated into a time lapse video to capture the historical context of the beach between 1941 to present day.

    WRL will also quantify long-term trends in shoreline position at Blacksmiths Beach using a recently developed state-of-the-art method to extract tide corrected shoreline data from satellite imagery since 1987.

    What are the aims of the long-term aerial imagery analysis?

    The main purpose of this image analysis is to:

    ·  quantify long-term changes to shoreline position, such as beach rotation

    ·  identify potential sediment transport pathways

    ·  identify changes to the Swansea Channel training walls

    ·  understand the likely influence of the above processes on surfing amenity at Blacksmiths Beach

    What is the purpose of the Surf Zone Bathymetry Survey?

    A ‘Surf Zone Bathymetry Survey’ will provide information essential for the understanding the morphology of the beach system, detailing the lay of the land under the water, and documenting the present-day surfing amenity. This survey will capture the current formation of the sand/land which can be used to identify changes in sand movement from this point forward.

    The nearshore bathymetry would be collected using a state-of-the-art Personal Watercraft equipped with suitable technology.

    Why has Council installed a second camera at Blacksmiths Beach?

    WRL has provided a short-term camera deployment to quantify beach usage and morphological changes including sand movement at Blacksmiths Beach. Hourly images will be captured of the beach during daylight hours to provide valuable information about sediment transport processes and to quantify beach usage statistics.

    Has Council undertaken this type of surf amenity before?

    No, this is the first time Council has undertaken this kind of surf amenity assessment at any Lake Mac beach.

    How does this project relate to the Lake Macquarie City Coastal Zone Management Plan?

    The Coastal Zone Management Plan identifies a number of management issues and recommends actions that promote a healthy lifestyle and consider current climate change predictions; coastal assets; public access and increased recreational pressure in this coastal city.

    The outcome of the surf assessment may require a beach management plan to maintain or improve beach nourishment and protection of sand levels and dunes. This management plan would be included in the updated Coastal Management Program (replacing the current Coastal Zone Management Plan).

    What are the next steps?

    The outcome of this study will influence whether a permanent management plan for beach nourishment will be included in the Coastal Management Program (the Program will replace the current Coastal Zone Management Plan).

    If so, the Lake Mac community and stakeholders will be consulted during the development of the Coastal Management Program.