|Articles on this page with permission from GREG WANE, are taken from the Barwon Heads,Ocean Grove, and Wallington news .||Issn 13290371|
Published by Whistler Publishing
PO. Box 358, Ocean Grove
Editor Greg Wayne
Silting changes river estuary
Heavy rain in catchment needed to flush Barwon River
Sand build up and the ever-changing spit at the river estuary at Barwon Heads is expected to continue until heavy rain falls in the Barwon River catchment areas. This will increase the river flow, flushing the silt and sand build up.
Barwon Coast has consulted a coastal engineer who has reviewed aerial photography from the 1940s to the 1970s to study changes in the river course, shape of the sand spit and build up of sandbars in the estuary.
For nearly two years a large sand bar has been building up on the Ocean Grove side of the river beneath the bridge. This s has now extended upstream several hundred metres and an old sea wall has been exposed on the spit on the ocean side of the bridge.
Barwon Coast is interested to hear from anyone who may have knowledge of this sea wall or remember its location.
During low tide, large sand bars in the estuary are exposed and this phenomenon has created a whole new experience for holidaymakers and locals who have been able to walk almost across the river. At low tide only a narrow channel about three metres deep and about four metres wide separates both sides of the estuary.
Hire boat operator Go Sail has experienced some difficulty during the holiday season. Plagued with low tides during the day and with the build up of silt, the river estuary has become shallow and narrow in sections, making it awkward to sail too near the bridge.
The Barwon Heads Sailing Association which conducts regular regattas on the river during summer, has had to move sailing courses further up stream where the river is deeper over a wider area.
Calls to dredge the river earlier this year prompted Barwon Coast to consult the coastal engineer however the advice given was not to interfere with the river ecology and silting. It is considered to be a natural effect which has occurred during drought years since the course of the river has been monitored.