The City’s innovative approach to combating coastal erosion has been honoured with a national award.
The shellfish reef project at Portarlington received one of just five Australian Coastal Awards at an event in Kiama, New South Wales on Thursday night.
The City received the award for making a significant contribution to innovation in the coastal zone, having provided a low-cost and ‘soft’ engineering solution to preventing erosion.
Made up of 0.75-metre-high steel cages filled with rock and scallop shells, the 130-metre-long shellfish reef sits off the heavily impacted Ramblers Road foreshore.
After being seeded with tiny shellfish, known as mussel spat, the cages have attracted a range of macro algae, invertebrates and other shellfish.
The low-maintenance reef has been designed to reduce wave energy and erosion, with the potential to even help reclaim parts of the foreshore.
It has attracted widespread interest from other councils, proving cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods such as rock seawalls and groynes.
The project has been led by the City’s senior environmental engineer Ralph Roob, who presented an overview of the initiative at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference.
The City has partnered with the University of Melbourne to monitor the project, which was installed in 2018.
The Australian Coastal Councils Association hosts the awards to recognise achievements in the sector and inspire other coastal planners and managers to strive for excellence.
Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood
The Ramblers Road reef project is a living example of the City’s Clever and Creative vision.
The innovative project is tackling coastal erosion with minimal cost and impact, while also providing a catalyst for marine life to grow.
Councillor Sarah Mansfield - Chair Environment and Sustainability Portfolio
Congratulations to Ralph Roob and our environment team.
This is a brilliant initiative that benefits our coastline, residents, and the aquatic environment.
It’s a great example of what can be delivered when we use partnerships between the City’s experts and universities to put science into practice.