Mornington, a coastal town situated on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, is well known for its stunning beaches and natural beauty. However, with the rise of sea levels and intensifying storms, the town’s coastal areas have become increasingly vulnerable to erosion and flooding, putting both residents and the town’s infrastructure at risk. In response to this, the town has developed a range of coastal protection strategies over the years, each with its own advantages and limitations. This article explores the evolution of Mornington’s coastal protection strategies and the challenges that the town faces in ensuring the sustainability of its coastline.
Mornington has a long history of coastal protection, with the first rock revetment built in the 1890s to protect the foreshore from the encroaching sea. Since then, various types of coastal protection measures have been implemented, including groynes, seawalls, and beach nourishment projects. In recent decades, the town has increasingly turned to soft engineering approaches, such as dune restoration and beach profiling, as a more sustainable and cost-effective way to protect the coastline.
One of the most recent strategies employed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC) is the implementation of the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) in 2020. The CHAS is a comprehensive planning document that identifies the areas most vulnerable to coastal hazards, such as erosion and flooding, and outlines the appropriate adaptation measures. The strategy emphasizes a combination of hard and soft engineering solutions, including the installation of seawalls and rock revetments in some areas and the restoration of dunes and wetlands in others.
The MPSC has also invested in the restoration of the Tanti Creek wetlands, which have become a vital habitat for local wildlife and a buffer against storm surges. This project was initiated in 2006 and involved the planting of over 35,000 native plants and the removal of invasive species, as well as the installation of boardwalks and viewing platforms to allow residents to access and enjoy the area.
While Mornington’s coastal protection strategies have come a long way over the years, the town still faces significant challenges in ensuring the sustainability of its coastline. One of the main challenges is the cost of coastal protection measures, with some solutions, such as seawalls and rock revetments, being more expensive than others. This raises questions about the affordability of these measures, particularly for low-income residents who may not have the resources to adapt to coastal hazards.
Another challenge is the increasing frequency and severity of coastal hazards, which requires the MPSC to constantly review and update its coastal protection strategies. The town must balance the need for effective protection with the need to preserve the natural beauty of its coastline, which is a vital part of the town’s identity and attraction for tourists.
Mornington’s evolution of coastal protection strategies shows the town’s commitment to adapting to the changing climate and ensuring the sustainability of its coastline. The town’s move towards soft engineering solutions and the implementation of the CHAS demonstrates a more holistic and long-term approach to coastal protection. However, challenges remain, and the town must continue to balance the need for effective protection with the preservation of the natural beauty of its coastline. Ultimately, the success of Mornington’s coastal protection strategies will depend on the town’s ability to adapt to the changing environment and work collaboratively with stakeholders, including residents, businesses, and local and state governments.