OPINION: Shortcut dredging

DEAR News Of The Area,

I SPEND a lot of my time in, on and around the lower Myall River so I have been interested to read the recent speculation in the News Of The Area about dredging in the eastern ‘shortcut’ entrance to the river.

If we are to persist with dredging it certainly seems to make sense to recreate a ‘straight’ run into the bay.

The last four major dredging programs have created ‘bent’ channels which have quickly reverted to something like their pre-dredging condition through the combination of wind, wave and tidal action on the unconsolidated sand.

But it would take a considerable leap of faith to hope that dredging a straight channel would somehow help to re-establish a long protective sandspit like Myall Point, which was destroyed by storm action around 1927.

Even if such a spit did re-develop there is no guarantee that it would result in a reliable, navigable entrance to the river.

The Myall River Inter- Agency Task Group Report of 2012 notes that “early hydrographic charts show that Paddy Marrs inlet (as it was then known), was a dynamic system which did not provide consistent access for boats”.

Presumably it was this lack of reliable access which led to the creation of the present northern navigation channel in around 1909.

While it would be tempting to allow the northern channel to close and concentrate flows through the eastern shortcut entrance, the very real danger is that we could end up with no reliable entrance at all.

This is clearly a complex issue.

Hopefully no long term, binding decisions will be made without comprehensive discussion, input and advice from all stakeholders and responsible agencies.

Hawks Nest.

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