40 years of sand dune rehabilitation at Cronulla

Key achievements

  • In 1974, the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) commenced Sydney’s largest dune stabilisation project.
  • SCS has succeeded in stopping the severe erosion of the peninsula, which was moving at up to 15 metres per year inland.
  • The original 10-year program has expanded into decades of continued work and maintenance.
  • SCS work has enabled vegetative stabilisation and progressive natural deposits of wind-blown sands into the dunes of the peninsula.
  • These works have altered what was a sediment budget deficit and long term shoreline recession to a stable sediment budget.
  • SCS work has protected investments made in the original 10-year program and continues the rehabilitation process.
  • The SCS rehabilitation program has strengthened dune stability and enables a flexible response to changing land use pressures.

The challenge

Since European contact, the 93-hectare native sand dune system on the Kurnell Peninsula has been heavily impacted by human activities. The dunes now need to be managed to provide social benefits and protect both a unique Sydney natural environment and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure.

In 1974, work commenced in response to severe erosion and has continued to date.

Work undertaken

Our specialist team has been working for more than 40 years on rehabilitating, maintaining and protecting sand dunes on the land between Cronulla and the Kurnell Peninsula. We continue to maintain the dunes against ongoing erosion pressure.

This work includes rehabilitation after major weather events, planting vegetation to build up the dunes, constructing and maintaining protective fences along the dune system, treating noxious weeds (herbicide and biological control), sowing seed to maintain native vegetation cover, increasing the diversity of plant species and maintaining formal access ways.

We act as the site manager on behalf of Sutherland Shire Council and Crown Lands.


This program of rehabilitation retains a continuous cover of diverse native vegetation.

This is essential to maintaining long-term stability of the coastal dune system between Wanda Beach and Boat Harbour.

Maintaining, enhancing and protecting vegetation on the dunes helps their natural function and reduces movement of sand inland, where it would be lost from the coastal system.

It also increases the biodiversity value of both flora and fauna, providing an important corridor linkage of adjacent natural areas such as National Park and other public reserves.

For more information about how we support landholders, government and the private sector, please contact us.