If you go to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park’s main parking lot area and follow the trail to the beach you may be surprised to learn that just a few months ago, there was a 650 m long, >1 m high concrete seawall along the shoreline. The seawall was built in 1971 to prevent logs from being swept into the day use area of the park. The structure aged to a condition that required either extensive repairs or removal. BC Parks engaged a professional engineering consultant to determine options, and together we decided that seawall removal and shoreline restoration would improve public access to the beach and enhance the shoreline’s ability to withstand increased sea levels and storm surges related to climate change.
During September and October, the concrete seawall was removed and a mixture of sand and cobble, similar to what occurs at Rathtrevor beach, was added to the site to replace beach material lost from wave erosion during the 45 years the seawall was in place. To help buffer wave action and promote coastal sand ecosystem recovery, logs were secured to buried rock anchors along the upper shoreline. Before work began, coastal sand ecosystem plants were removed and seed was collected from the worksite, stored, and they were replanted/sowed onsite around log structures at project completion.
Because beaches are dynamic environments, we anticipate that it will take a number of years before equilibrium will be reached between materials added to the beach and those from surrounding areas, such as offshore sandbars. We will be closely monitoring the outcomes of the project and depending on how the beach nourishment mixture responds to storm events and high tides, further additions may be required over time. Additional split-rail fencing will be built next year to delineate beach access pathways so that impacts to coastal sand ecosystem plants are minimized. As well, we will continue to enhance the abundance and diversity of unique coastal sand ecosystem plants and add interpretive signage to help Park visitors better understand this project and the ecological values of Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.