Located on the scenic coast of the Mornington Peninsula, the city of Mornington is home to over 23,000 residents. However, the idyllic scenery and beauty of the coastline has been threatened by a growing issue: coastal erosion.
Coastal erosion is a natural process that occurs when the sea wears away the land, but it has been accelerated by human activities such as construction and development. In Mornington, the issue of coastal erosion has been a topic of concern for several decades, with both natural and human factors playing a role in exacerbating the problem.
In the late 1800s, the city of Melbourne experienced a population boom that led to increased development and infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Port Phillip Bay entrance channel. The channel allowed large ships to enter the bay and access the port, but it also changed the natural flow of sand along the coastline. This change in flow disrupted the sediment balance and contributed to coastal erosion in areas like Mornington.
Additionally, human activities such as sand mining, vegetation removal, and urbanization further accelerated the issue of coastal erosion. The removal of vegetation, for example, reduced the ability of plants to anchor the soil and protect it from the erosive forces of wind and water.
The issue of coastal erosion has only worsened in recent years, with rising sea levels and more frequent storms contributing to the loss of coastline. The impact of coastal erosion has been felt by both residents and businesses in the area, with properties and infrastructure at risk of damage or destruction.
In response to the issue, the Mornington Peninsula Shire has implemented a Coastal Hazard Assessment and Adaptation Plan (CHAAP) to manage and address the risks associated with coastal erosion. The plan aims to balance the protection of assets with the preservation of the natural coastal environment and includes a range of measures such as beach nourishment, dune restoration, and seawall construction.
While the CHAAP provides a framework for addressing the issue of coastal erosion, the long-term outlook for the coastline remains uncertain. The impact of climate change and rising sea levels is expected to further accelerate the issue, and there is ongoing debate about the best approach to managing the risks associated with coastal erosion.
One potential solution that has gained traction in recent years is the concept of “managed retreat,” which involves relocating buildings and infrastructure away from the coastline to areas less prone to erosion. While this approach can be controversial and difficult to implement, it acknowledges the reality of the situation and provides a long-term solution that balances the needs of both residents and the natural environment.
The issue of coastal erosion in Mornington is a complex problem with both historical and current factors contributing to its severity. While the implementation of the CHAAP is a step in the right direction, it is clear that a long-term solution is needed to address the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. The concept of managed retreat provides a potential solution, but it will require collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to ensure its success. Ultimately, the protection and preservation of Mornington’s coastline should be a top priority to ensure the sustainability and resilience of the community for generations to come.