Thirty years of research and community debate about the most effective way of controlling severe erosion at Jimmys Beach, Hawks Nest will culminate next month when the first load of sand from a newly installed sand transfer system is pumped onto the beach.
Midcoast Council is putting the finishing touches to a $4.1million pipeline connecting a sand stockpile at Winda Woppa to Jimmys Beach, about two kilometres away.
It is planned to pump sand onto 10 points along Jimmys Beach and Winda Woppa twice a year.
The first 10,000 cubic metre deposit will occur next month.
Numerous studies have highlighted the complex interaction between sand movements and currents within Port Stephens that have contributed to the area being listed as one of the state's 15 coastal erosion hot spots.
The sand transfer system, jointly funded by the Office of Environment and Heritage, Crown Lands and Midcoast Council, was chosen because it represents a more sustainable option to hard engineering solutions such as rock walls.
"All of the research has shown this is one giant dynamic system of mobile sand within Port Stephens," Midcoast Council Coastal Management Coordinator Andrew Staniland said.
"The whole point of this project is that we are not going to add sand to the Port Stephens system."
The pipeline will replace a process of trucking in sand in an effort to secure the beach following major erosion incidents. It will also reduce the cost of securing the beach from about $600,000 a year to $200,000.
"This system is not designed to stop the erosion, however, it will continue to provide a temporary sand buffer along The Boulevard part of the beach far more effectively than previous trucking campaigns," Mr Staniland said.
The project, the first of its kind in NSW, is similar to systems operating at Lakes Entrance, Victoria and Noosa, Queensland.
The concept is also of interest to those investigating solutions to ongoing erosion problems at Stockton Beach and Swansea Channel.
The Winda Woppa sand stockpile is made up of sand deposited from the council's ongoing navigational dredging program that operates across Port Stephens and the Great Lakes.
The Myall River Action Group has been lobbying for ongoing dredging of the natural entrance of the Myall River, also known as the Short Cut.
Group spokesman Gordon Grainger said the system was welcome but said more sand needed to drawn from the Short Cut to ensure the Myall River's ongoing health.
"One of the problems we have is that the Short Cut is not a designated navigational channel; funding is extremely scarce so we are in the hands of council to try and fund that," he said.
"At this stage council is probably anticipating another two years before they need to do the natural entrance but I don't think we can last that long before we go back to the days where we had very low salinity and diseased fish."