Living on the water, owning a waterfront property, for many, is the Australian Dream. While beachfront, canal or lake living offers many benefits, it also comes with the added responsibility of caring for and maintaining your shorefront.
As one of the leading pontoon maintenance and installation companies operating along the South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales coast, we’ve seen our fair share of sorry looking waterfronts. While most are a result of erosion, that isn’t the only cause of damage. Flooding, runoff and exposure to the elements can also have drastic effects on a waterfront properties shoreline.
Why Erosion Control Is Important
Owning a waterfront property, you’re probably conscious of the risk of your shoreline being washed away. Losing some of the soil is a problem, but it becomes an even bigger concern if the ground your home sits on also starts to wash away. When the shore recedes, the ground can be pulled, destroying the foundation of the house and causing the walls to collapse.
Granted, this is an extreme case that not many of us will have to face in these areas, but it can happen. At the very least, erosion can cause massive damage to your jetty or pontoon moorings and retaining walls. Such damage can have disastrous effects on the structure’s structural integrity, deeming the pontoon or jetty unsafe for use and possibly even unrepairable.
Erosion can also lead to pollutants being carried into the waterway, which can lead to the loss of fish and wildlife habitat. Thus, erosion control and prevention is relevant for any waterfront property owner.
Whether your property is currently protected from erosion or not, you need to know the signs of erosion so that you can solve the problem before your pontoon, jetty or home is damaged. There are several ways to prevent erosion and protect your property and your home, which we’re going to look at today.
How to Prevent Erosion
Build a soft armour
A hard armour such as a concrete seawall can actually accelerate erosion. While seawalls are installed to prevent waves continually pounding the shoreline in a means to prevent erosion, they can actually do the opposite, preventing energy absorption and causing more erosion damage to neighbouring properties.
So, rather than installing a concrete seawall, consider building a rip rap revetment. A rip rap revetment is a large rock retaining wall sloped towards the shoreline. It is considered a ‘soft armour’ as opposed to a ‘hard armour’ as it allows energy absorption by maintaining the shoreline’s natural slope.
Rip rap revetments alone may not be a permanent solution. However, when placed over erosion blankets, nets, or mesh, they become an effective long term solution.
Installing coir logs and rocks and planting native shoreline vegetation between them serves as a fantastic erosion control measure. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it’s also one of the most economical options.
Grasses, flowers, hedges, shrubs, and trees are all great examples of woody and aquatic shoreline vegetation to consider. Along with offering great erosion control, they will also improve your shoreline look.
As trees can take a long time to establish deep roots, consider planning grasses that grow well in your climate and location with deep roots at the same time. The gasses will help while the trees establish.
Coir logs may not be as aesthetically pleasing as natural vegetation, but they work just as well in reducing erosion. If you’re not familiar with a coir log, they are simply sediment control logs made from coconut fibre and are readily available through Bunnings and other landscaping and environment suppliers. They are also very cost-effective at around $45 per 2 metre, 20cm diameter log. However, they will eventually biodegrade into the surrounding soil, lasting only 2-5 years, depending on the conditions.
Living on a waterfront property offers many benefits, but only if your shoreline is upheld with effective erosion control measures.
To protect your shoreline, along with your pontoon/jetty and home, consider building a soft rip rap armour, plant vegetation, or install coir logs. Any of these erosion control methods will ensure your soil and land remains where it is, and your property and home will be protected against erosion.
If your pontoon or jetty has suffered damage from erosion, give us Micks Marine Maintenance a call on 0431 778 468.