ABSTRACT

Todd D.J. and Bowra, K., 2016. Development of beach health index for the Gold Coast, Australia. In: Vila-Concejo, A.; Bruce, E.; Kennedy, D.M., and McCarroll, R.J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Coastal Symposium (Sydney, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 75, pp. 710–714. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

The City of Gold Coast Council “Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013–2023” included the preparation of an annual Beach Health Report as a key action for measuring whether the city's beach were clean and healthy. As a result, the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management and City of Gold Coast have been investigating what are the most appropriate indicators and reporting systems for beach health that will provide an objective rating of the overall quality of Gold Coast beaches, both in the present and in the future. An initial literature review concluded that the most suitable beach health rating system was a system based on the framework of the existing “Ocean Health Index” (Halpern et al., 2012) adapted to incorporate eleven indicators of beach health covering the recreation, protection and ecological functions of beach environments drawn from existing European and Australian beach rating systems. The recommended indicators and rating systems were trialled at four Gold Coast beaches with different levels of development and recreational use. This paper describes the preliminary results and issues encountered in trying to adapt the existing Beach Health methodologies to the Gold Coast.

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