SHIFTING SANDS: Stand-up paddle boarder Andrew Smith pictured at Wild Cattle Creek in February.
SHIFTING SANDS: Stand-up paddle boarder Andrew Smith pictured at Wild Cattle Creek in February. Aerial Media Gladstone

SHIFTING SANDS: Creek mouth rapidly changing

WILD Cattle Creek's erosion problem appears to have shifted to the creek mouth where sand banks are becoming small cliffs and large trees are toppling over.

Stand-up paddler Andrew Smith, a local of 30 years, said the top end of the Wild Cattle island was receding at a rapid rate, along with casuarina trees that had stood for decades.

"It used to be at high tide, full moons or king tides that you would lose some trees but now at every tide more trees are falling,” said Mr Smith.

"At first it was shocking to see a tree fall over but now it's happening every day. You just stand there and watch them fall.”

Images of Mr Smith surfing at the island tip in February reveal casuarina trees in the background that have since gone under.

An overlay of his movements from a GPS tracker shows he now surfs on area that used to be sand and trees.

Two years ago the council invested $300,000 to rebuild and revegetate eroded dunes with 5 metre vertical drops on the public beach side of Wild Cattle Creek.

About 10,000 cubic metres of sand was shifted over a three-week period to rebuild the dunes and 1600 beach vines and grasses were planted to stabilise the sand.

GPS tracking of Andrew Smith's current surfs overlayed onto an earlier image of Wild Cattle Creek Island shows how much sand has been lost at the end.
GPS tracking of Andrew Smith's current surfs overlayed onto an earlier image of Wild Cattle Creek Island shows how much sand has been lost at the end.

According to the council that project has successfully prevented further erosion and repaired the dunes to a safe gradient for residents to enjoy.

However the creek mouth is not getting the same kind of attention because the council says it is a dynamic system that changes daily and is not creating any risk.

Drone photographer Tim Cheetham, from Aerial Media Gladstone, has been monitoring Wild Cattle Creek from the air and said it was undergoing constant change.

"It has been changing a lot more recently; over the last month there has been significant change,” Mr Cheetham said .

"Someone recently fell when the sand collapsed walking alone the edge.

Sandbank erosion at Wild Cattle Creek
Sandbank erosion at Wild Cattle Creek

"It has given way and there were roots hanging out and they've had to call an ambulance and the whole front of her leg was opened.”

Mr Smith said he started noticing the erosion and loss of trees about two years ago but the problem was getting rapidly worse.

"Sand is always going to move, that's just nature, but in the last couple of years we've lost trees that have been there for a long time,” he said.

"People say there's no such thing as climate change until you see the trees falling in the water.”



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