Natural beaches fair well in storms

The city's foreshore restoration work appears to have weathered the season’s first storm better than other areas of the shoreline

The City of Campbell River’s foreshore restoration work appears to have weathered the season’s first storm better than other areas of the shoreline.

“Last week’s violent weather put the rehabilitated shorelines to the test, and video footage and onsite inspection indicate these areas withstood the powerful waves better than both un-restored areas of the seawalk and areas reinforced with rip rap,” says Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture.

In three videos taken during the Nov. 24 storm, logs and driftwood roll up and down a restored beach slope at Ellis Park and 550 South Island Hwy. During the same storm, waves eroded the shore at a number of other locations along the seawalk, and undermined the large stone (rip rap) armouring at Robert V Ostler Park.

Campbell River shoreline restoration creates a more gradual beach slope and nourishes beaches with protective logs and driftwood. This slows erosion and reduces wave energy because the waves break offshore and lose their power running up the gradual slope. Reduced wave energy is less likely to deposit logs and other debris on the shore. Erosion and beach scouring are also significantly reduced – in stark contrast to the steep rip rap that tends to intensify wave energy right at the shoreline.

“Nature brings gravel, logs and driftwood north with winter storms, and this last storm has clearly demonstrated that we can use this material to help protect roads and the popular Seawalk from being washed out and undermined,” says Grant Parker, the City’s parks operations supervisor.

“We’re very pleased to see how well the soft shore restoration method has protected the shoreline.

“It’s cost efficient, looks natural, keeps land from washing into the sea, restores habitat, protects infrastructure and increases public access to the foreshore.”