Updates on Ettalong Channel dredging program

Latest update

23 May 2019

The first stage of the Rescuing our Waterways program (Phase 5) project has commenced. This involves dredging up to 20,000 cubic metres of sand from the channel and placing the sand on Ocean and Umina beaches to reduce the impact of coastal hazards and improve beach amenity.

Current dredging program

In November 2018, Central Coast Council accepted the NSW Government’s offer of $1.225 million under the Rescuing our Waterways program (Phase 5) for additional dredging of the Ettalong channel. Council is matching the government’s funding, making a total of $2.45 million available for the Rescuing our Waterways dredging project.

Central Coast Council and Crown lands have agreed to deliver the project in stages.

The first stage of the dredging works will be delivered in 2018–19 by NSW Department of Industry using up to $1 million from the state government's contribution to the overall project.

Council is working with the dredge contractor to ensure the sand placement on Ocean Beach between Trafalgar Avenue and Augusta Street is finished in accordance with agreed design plans.

Central Coast Council will be responsible for delivering the future stages, with the expenditure of remaining funds of $1.45 million (made up of contributions from council of $1.225 million and the remaining $0.225 million from the state government) in 2019–20 and 2020–21.

About the Ettalong channel

The marked navigational entrance channel to Brisbane Water—known as Ettalong channel—generally follows close to the eastern foreshore from Wagstaffe Point, Lobster Beach and Little Box Head.

From time to time, the channel must be dredged because of the dynamic nature of the entrance sand shoals and sand movement.

The channel is monitored by NSW Maritime Services, which assess the condition of the channel and manages the navigation aids to help boaters and commercial vessel operators to effectively and safely navigate the channel.

Ettalong channel

Previous dredging activities

An emergency dredging program was completed in 2018, reinstating navigational access in the channel. NSW government provided funding for the program on the basis that Central Coast Council sought matching funding under the Rescuing our Waterways Program.

NSW Department of Industry and NSW Roads & Maritime Services carried out the emergency dredging, with around 20,000 cubic metres of sand removed, providing a channel 60 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep.

Emergency dredging of the channel was completed in June, July and October 2017, with the dredging providing temporary relief for boaters including the ferry service.

In 2018 there was additional dredging of the navigational channel adjacent to Lobster Beach that provided a channel 30 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep.

Previous planned maintenance was undertaken in 2010 by state and local governments.