National honour for coastal project

Environment Pillar

The City of Greater Geelong’s innovative approach to combating coastal erosion has been honoured with a national award.

The shellfish reef project at Portarlington received an Australian Coastal 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 Australian Coastal Councils Association hosts the awards to recognise achievements in the sector and inspire other coastal planners and managers to strive for excellence.