Dunes also need some TLC

2015-07-07 06:01
A dune management plan is on the cards for Fish Hoek beach.

nicole mccain

A dune management plan is on the cards for Fish Hoek beach. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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The dunes of Fish Hoek beach, Muizenberg beach and Monwabisi Resort and beach have been prioritised for better care.

Developing dune management plans for these beaches will allow for their better protection, explains Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

“Of utmost importance, however, is the fact that management plans guide the rehabilitation and maintenance procedure in these sensitive environments through strict site management, impact identification and mitigation, project management and monitoring,” she says.

As dune systems provide the primary protection from storm surges, sea level rise and windblown sand inundation, their rehabilitation, maintenance and conservation are critical.

The dune system that stretches the expanse of beach between the Fish Hoek beacon and Clovelly Beach, including the Silvermine River mouth, will form part of the proposed dune management plan. Over time this dune belt has become narrower as a result of storm surges, trampling of plants which led to windblown sand and loss of sand from the dunes and undercutting by the meandering Silvermine River mouth, Walker explains.

The proposed management plan will address this narrowing by outlining the process to reach a state where the dune system is intact and functioning.

This month it was noted that the Silvermine River had begun undercutting the dune belt to the south of Clovelly Beach.

“The City’s sport, recreation and amenities department sought approval from the department of environmental affairs and development planning to undertake emergency measures to mechanically realign the river mouth. Since only a two-week window period was permitted to undertake these interventions, this further highlights the need for an approved management plan,” she says.

Management plans are not limited to dune management but may include estuary management.

Beaches that currently have management plans in place include Table View, Hout Bay and the Zeekoevlei River mouth. Management plans have been drafted for Bikini beach, Macassar Pavilion and beach, Kogel Bay Resort and beach and Kommetjie beach.

According to the City of Cape Town coastal management programme, all remaining sand dunes in Cape Town are of critical importance to the coastline.

Few coastal dune systems along Cape Town’s coastline remain healthy without any need for active management. As the urban footprint has expanded over the last few decades, sand dunes have become cut off, damaged and are no longer naturally functional.

A public participation process may be required as part of the approval process for the management plan, Walker says. Once approved, the plan will be implemented depending on the budget available

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