WARILLA Beach is in the running for the prestigious Keep Australia Beautiful Environmental Protection Award for its dune habitat and restoration works.
Shellharbour City Council hopes the Shellharbour foreshore master plan will help Warilla in the battle to be named NSW's most environmentally friendly beach.
Warilla Beach is one of 32 beaches in the running for the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach award.
Assessor Colin Besley of Sydney Water visited the spot last Thursday.
Work to protect and stabilise the dunes, identified as vulnerable to coastal erosion in the Shellharbour Foreshore Master Plan, began in 2009 and involves weed removal and native coastal revegetation.
Council officers, volunteers and students have planted thousands of native plants and removed weeds to improve the ecosystem and biodiversity.
More than 780 hours of bush regeneration work has been undertaken so far this year.
Since 2009, the council has received consecutive funding under the Office of Environment and Heritage's coastal management program to complete these works.
The northern stretch of the beach adjoins the entrance channel to Lake Illawarra and is considered the most vulnerable to long-term erosion in the Shellharbour area.
"This project is essential to increase dune stability and assist in long-term dune rebuilding to maintain and provide defence to coastal hazards," Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said.
She said that, at this stage, there was no intention for Shellharbour to follow Wollongong City Council's example in regards to a dune management strategy, which is Wollongong council's response to concerns about scarping and reduced sight lines for lifesavers and lifeguards.
"There are some issues that have been raised with me in regards to access, but what we do have seems to be in good condition at the moment and is stopping the deterioration of our beaches and dunes."