Have you ever wondered why there is the odd pole sticking out of our South Coast beaches? They are used to gauge sand heights by measuring the distance between the sand and a line marked on each pole.
There are five poles in Victor Harbor, one at Middleton, one at Basham's Beach and one at Chiton Rocks. Andrew Leak, of Victor Harbor Coastcare, has been taking measurements at the five Victor Harbor poles for 10 years. Terry Tarrant, of Port Elliot, measures the other three poles and has for 11 years. Measurements were taken weekly, but now the readings are monthly.
Data is sent to the Department for Environment and Water's Coastal Management Branch (CMB) each month. The CMB has a network of over 300 'beach profiles' along the SA coastline that the department monitors where beach erosion could be a potential threat. Profile measurements are taken from a permanent starting point and run along a cross-section of the coast over sand dunes, the active beach zone and continue out to sea.
The profile lines are regularly surveyed and evaluated for changes in sand levels to build up a picture of sand movement trends over time and they help inform coastal management decisions. The beach pole measurements collected by Terry and Andrew are used to complement the department's own measurements that are collected annually and to capture more regular changes in beach levels that occur due to seasonal weather patterns and storm events.
Terry and Andrew are ready to pass on the role to new volunteers. Ring Andrew on 0409 551 248.