Wave buoys in SA gulf to tackle erosion

Tim DorninAAP
Three high-tech buoys have been launched off the South Australian coast to help fight beach erosion.
Camera IconThree high-tech buoys have been launched off the South Australian coast to help fight beach erosion. Credit: AAP

Three sophisticated buoys have been deployed off the South Australian coast to track waves and help fight ongoing erosion along Adelaide's metropolitan coast.

Two buoys have been launched off Semaphore and Brighton beaches and a third in Investigator Strait between the mainland and Kangaroo Island to capture waves that enter the Gulf St Vincent from the Southern Ocean.

Adelaide's metropolitan coast and its sandy beaches have been artificially maintained by sand nourishment programs since the 1970s by the state government.

The area has ongoing issues with coastal erosion due to wave-driven sand movement, exacerbated by historical seagrass loss, that has increased sediment accumulation in the northern beaches and sand loss along the central and southern parts of the coast.

"To help address the ongoing coastal sand movement, we need to better understand wave movement in much greater detail," Flinders University oceanographer Graziela Miot da Silva said.

"Deploying these cutting-edge spotter wave buoys sending real-time data is an important tool that will monitor changes in wave conditions, such as increases in wave height."

Data from the three buoys will inform models to predict future changes in Adelaide's metropolitan coastline from climate change and sea level rise, promoting best coastal management practices, including seagrass and reef restoration.

"Ultimately, this will benefit important ongoing coastal management initiatives, especially sediment nourishment practices to maintain Adelaide's metropolitan beaches," Dr Miot da Silva said.

The data will also help with search and rescue operations, commercial and recreational fishermen and other research and monitoring programs.

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