John Eggleston shows the two magic answers to erosion side by side, the beach hibiscus and the screw palm or pandanus.
John Eggleston shows the two magic answers to erosion side by side, the beach hibiscus and the screw palm or pandanus. Toni McRae

Natural solution for coast erosion

THE ALARMING erosion along the Hervey Bay to Toogoom foreshore can be stopped with nature’s help.

“A man-made disaster is happening right in front of us but we can fix it and not with costly rock walls either,” Dundowran environmentalist John Eggleston said yesterday.

“Two native trees will do it; the extremely salt and tide-resistant beach hibiscus and the screw palm, or pandanus as it’s also known.

“I have already taken my proposal to councillor Sue Brooks who heads the environment sustainability portfolio and on Friday I took it up to council headquarters in Tavistock Street to hand over to a senior officer.”

Mr Eggleston said he had spent “20 years trying to get successive councils to do something” about stopping foreshore dwellers and developers from clearing the trees. “But I tend to work better with this current council.

“This disaster, at Dundowran’s Anson and Sawmill road beach entrances in particular, is happening because most of the trees have been removed from the frontal dune and with the continuous area of open road behind, this causes a funnelling of wind at ground level and accentuates the wave erosion of the frontal dunes.

“The beach hibiscus and screw palm, if the council plants them along the foreshore, can start binding the dunes within 18 months.”

Mr Eggleston said the beach she-oak had a dense fibrous root system and also grew easily on the dunes.

“It was thought to be the major frontal barrier plant but it cannot withstand the undermining of wave action, particularly from abnormal high tides and storms.”

The slow-growing screw palm also had the ability to root out of its trunk, he said, while the beach hibiscus was sprawling and very fast-growing.

“It’s just the best frontal barrier plant of this region.”

Meanwhile Mr Eggleston has already planted a handful of hibiscus seedlings along the Dundowran dunes supplied by the Hervey Bay Plant Propagators group to which he belonged.

“It’s not too late to save our foreshore but we must start acting now because we are going to need thousands of trees.”



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