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3000 square metres of seaweed covers Cronulla beach

Updated

A bulldozer began the massive task early on Thursday of moving a massive amount of seaweed, which has covered Cronulla beach.

The sea wrack, as it is called when large quantities are washed ashore, are another legacy of the wild weekend weather, which included big seas and winds of up to 100km/h.

On Monday, the beach, rock pools and Esplanade were covered with a thick layer of foam.

Foam churned up by big seas covered the Esplanade, rock pools and beach on Monday. Picture: John Veage

Foam churned up by big seas covered the Esplanade, rock pools and beach on Monday. Picture: John Veage

Sutherland Shire Council has closed the beach for public safety while the sea wrack is pushed to the northern end of the beach from where it is expected to be washed back into the sea.

"To address decay and strong odour that can occur when beached sea wrack is exposed to warmer weather, council will be pushing approximately 3000 square metres of seaweed from the sand to the northern end of the beach, allowing the receding tide and currents to return the weed to the ocean," a council spokeswoman said.

"Council has received a permit from the Department of Primary Industries to manage sea wrack accumulations on Bate Bay beaches in accordance with Council's approved Management Plan.

"Taking into account its duty under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979), Council has carefully considered the best approach within the plan to minimise any environmental impact.

"Storm events and the resulting accumulation of sea wrack on beaches is a natural phenomenon that plays an important function in coastal and estuarine ecology.

"Sea wrack attracts shorebirds that forage among the debris for food and other marine organisms quickly become habitat and food for other land-dwelling animals."

The spokeswoman said moving the sea wrack to the northern end of the beach into the wave zone would also provide protection from further erosion of sand in the norther pocket of beach, while allowing nature to take its course.

"Council officers will continue to monitor the area with early weather predictions suggesting the weekend will again see large seas, inclement weather and potential for fur beach erosion," she said.

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