Beaches & Coastal Management
The Townsville City Council local government area includes 180km of coastline stretching from Cungulla Beach to Crystal Creek. This coastal strip includes 25.4km of Council managed Esplanades on the mainland and 6.35km on Magnetic Island.
5 Easy Steps to Grow Your Esplanade
- Let debris collect on the high tide line
- Install sand traps
- Plant coastal vegetation
- Avoid mowing coastal vegetation
- Use public pedestrian paths
Download our 5 Easy Steps to Grow Your Esplanade factsheet for more information.
Arcadia Coastcare is a volunteer community group who help look after natural areas on public land at Arcadia, Magnetic Island.
Their website provides information on the following:
- Arcadia’s Natural Areas
- Arcadia’s Native Plants and Animals
- Arcadia’s Landscape and Catchment
- Wulgurukaba Traditional Owners
- Photo Gallery
Dogs on Beaches
Many shorebirds travel thousands of kilometres to get to our beaches. If chased by dogs they may die of exhaustion. Nesting birds chased by dogs may abandon their nests. Walking your dog on a leash around shorebirds may save their lives.
Vehicles on Beaches and Esplanades
Driving on a beach can damage the natural beach environment and endanger other beach users. Please find information below on where you can drive a vehicle and a factsheets on the dos and don’ts on our shorelines.
Fires on Beaches
Fires are permitted in Council Esplanades only where a fireplace or barbecue has been constructed by Council. Fires on beaches adjacent to a residential area are not recommended. Serious injuries have been caused from people walking over old fire pits that haven’t been put out properly.
Horses on Beaches
Horse riding can occur on Townsville beaches below the high water mark except anywhere along The Strand beach or near to a public swimming area such as a life guard patrolled beach or stinger enclosure.
Horse riding is not permitted within any Council Esplanades down to the high water mark.
A designated horse exercise area is located at Pallarenda from the 3 Mile Creek car park south to Beach Access number 10 where the dog off leash area begins.
Horse riding access on Saunders Beach is via the southern most beach access path at the end of Cay Street where riders may ride south on the beach only and not north in front of residential properties.
Guidelines for horse riders:
- Keep away from residential areas
- Keep a safe distance from pedestrians
- Stay on the firm intertidal sand and off the soft sand and coastal vegetation above high tide
- Try to exercise horses at low tide
- Riders are required to clean up their animals waste the same as cats and dogs
Marine Algal Blooms
Algal blooms are common seasonal events in North Queensland's coastal environments between August and December when increased temperatures, sunlight and other environmental factors are favourable to growth.
Algae play an important ecological role in marine and estuarine environments. Some blooms have the potential to be harmful to humans and other animals while other blooms may only cause a nuisance impact such as an unpleasant odour.
In North Queensland the most common naturally occurring algal blooms are caused by Trichodesmium species. This alga generally isn't harmful but can be unsightly and smell quite ‘fishy’.
Identification: Trichdesmium species washed ashore may appear red, brown, blue, green or even purple colours. On the sea surface, it can look a bit like sprinkled saw dust or an oil/paint spill. But unlike oil if a stick's dipped into a Trichodesmium bloom it won't attach to it. Also, when a stick's removed from oil, a hole will remain in the oil from the stick but it immediately close's if the material's Trichodesmium spp. Blooms washed ashore generally disappear in a few days.
Problems: The most serious problem is that it depletes the oxygen content of the water in restricted areas like creeks closed to the sea at low tide which can kill the fish. It's also really "fishy" smelling.
Don't touch it! - Blooms of Trichodesmium spp. can irritate your skin so avoid touching or ingesting it. If you come in contact with a bloom it can easily be washed off with running water.
Shoreline erosion management plans
A Shoreline Erosion Management Plan or SEMP is the Queensland State Governments’ preferred method for local councils to address coastal erosion issues. A SEMP provides a recommended plan that can be used in an effort to protect coastal property, buildings, roads etc.
Why a SEMP?
A SEMP ensures that the best plan for managing the shoreline is created by using the skills of coastal experts and involving all relevant stakeholders and authorities (Great Barrier Reef Marine Protection Authority, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection etc.). This means that if shoreline erosion management projects happen in the area there is already a plan in place that has been agreed on by Council, State Government and Federal Government. This ensures that the best possible erosion management is undertaken and makes it easier to get approval to do the work.
Below are the SEMP for Townsville shorelines.
Stranded Marine Animals
Stranded marine animals can include turtles, sea snakes, sharks, dugongs, dolphins and whales. If the animal is alive you need to contact the RSPCA using: 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).
If the animal is dead, report it to Council on 13 48 10.
The Strand & Stinger Net locations
Information on The Strand and Stinger Net locations can be located here.