Coastal modelling for desision makers

This week our undergraduate researcher Aly Chandler completed her university research with JBP, which brings her to the end of her degree from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Over the last six months Aly has been validating the XBeach coastal model against observed erosion at Bribie Island and the potential for erosion around the newly reconstructed Maroochy Groynes, Queensland, which has been supported by the Sunshine Coast Council.

While the use of numerical modelling for coastal management isn’t new, it is evolving to be a great decision support tool to use when tricky decisions need to be made. Despite the traditional coastal management definitions (Do Nothing, Accommodate, Defend etc), a coastal council rarely ‘Does Nothing’. Personally I find the coastal framework proposed by Elisa Zavadil of Monitor, Mitigate and Transition to be more accurate; because a coastal manager is always watching, monitoring and assessing. Whilst the decision to move into a ‘Mitigation’ phase can be a challenge, the use of modelling can help build an understanding of the local coastal processes, assess the potential for extreme events, and anticipate erosion impacts before they occur. So well done Aly on a great research topic!

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