The synergy of nature: Promoting natural processes to alleviate coastal erosion

Mr Chris Beadle1, Mr Adam King2

1Water Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 2Townsville City Council , Townsville, Australia


Located on the beautiful Magnetic Island,  Horseshoe Bay Beach is a popular and highly valued asset for the Townsville locals , as well as for visitors from far and wide.

However, the complex interaction of environmental  conditions, human use pressures and land use  practices  are continually shaping and reshaping the shoreline of Horseshoe Bay Beach. The dynamic nature of this coastal environment  means  that  sections  of  the  foreshore  are  experiencing  erosion  that  is  threatening  essential infrastructure and adversely affecting social and environmental values.

In recognition of the need to preserve this foreshore as a natural resource and to accommodate the ever-increasing pressures of urban development and tourism on an eroding shoreline, Townsville City Council and Water Technology have prepared a Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP).

Key to developing the SEMP was gaining a detailed understanding of the complex processes driving erosion at the foreshore. Using this knowledge, the SEMP emphasised working with the natural beach processes to develop effective solutions to the local erosion issues.

The study is an example of how working with nature can achieve effective, cost-efficient solutions when compared to traditional engineering approached such as hard structures. It demonstrates how creating an environment that facilitates natural beach recovery can produce sustainable outcomes for the benefit of the wider community.


Chris is a senior coastal engineer with 10 years’ experience coastal engineering and coastal management.

With a background in  coastal and estuarine processes, coastal infrastructure design, and coastal zone management investigations, Chris has applied his knowledge across a vast range of coastal environments around the country.

Chris is passionate about sustainable coastal zone management and believes that a communicative and collaborative approach between stakeholders is vital to ensuring success in the coastal management process.