Heavy rains flush river over sandbar

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The Beaufort Inlet estuary has opened to the Southern Ocean after heavy flows from the Pallinup River broke over the sandbar.

Many locals refer to the Beaufort Inlet, 135km from Albany, as the Pallinup estuary.

The inlet connects the freshwater streams from Pallinup River to the Southern ocean.

An aerial photo taken by Michael Moir last Friday shows the inlet overflowing with water because of the heavy rainfall that the region had received from the previous month.

Steve Janicke, an independent environmental consultant in Albany, said he had seen many estuaries opened up in the past.

“If you got enough rainfall that flows from the river it will fill the estuary up until it trickles over the top of the bar” Mr Janicke said.

“Because it’s only sand it just washes away very quickly and it can open within a short space of a few hours. “It can go from being blocked off to 100m, even to 200m-wide within a very short period of time.

“I have seen estuaries open on occasion.

“It doesn’t take too much to open them up, just a decent bit of rain.

Mr Janicke has worked as an environmental officer for the Water and Rivers Commission and the Department of Water, and has also been involved in many south coast river projects over the past 20 years.

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