Matt Blacka

Principal Engineer - Coastal
Water Research Laboratory
Contact details:
0438 812 978

Water Research Laboratory
UNSW Manly Vale Campus

Matt Blacka is a Principal Coastal Engineer at the Water Research Laboratory. 


Matt Blacka has over 15 years of applied experience leading projects in the fields of coastal processes and hazards, estuary processes, coastal structures and coastal climate change adaptation. His projects in these areas include design, vulnerability assessment, management planning, physical modelling, field data collection and monitoring. Matt’s work extends throughout the east coast of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. He holds a Master of Engineering Science degree with specialisation in Coastal Engineering and Management, and a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) degree, with first class honours in Coastal Engineering.


Matt’s background qualifications in Civil Engineering combined with his passion for the natural coastal environment allow him to bring a considered and technical approach to his work in the areas of coastal management and coastal protection. His experience provides a wealth of knowledge on the use and mis-use of coastal protection systems, and the impacts of coastal management works on the environment. Matt’s expertise extends to include physical modelling, wave loading assessments, design, condition assessments and analysis of environmental impacts for coastal protection works.


Matt regularly leads desktop and field investigations for coastal and estuary processes, hazards and management studies. He has completed coastal process studies ranging from assessments for small property developments, through to regional scale coastal vulnerability assessments and management plans. In recent years he has specialised in coastal processes of reef fringed Pacific Islands, including waves, storm surge and sediment transport processes. Matt currently manages WRL’s Coastal Imaging programs and he has many years of practical experience undertaking environmental data collection in the coastal zone.


Matt is an active member of the Australia/Pacific coastal engineering community, regularly publishing work in technical conferences and journals. He is a corresponding committee member of the Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean and Port Engineering Panel (COPEP) and a member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (Oceania). Matt is passionate about professional development in the coastal engineering sector, and is a coordinator of UNSW’s professional training courses in the field of coastal engineering and coastal management, helping to provide valuable capacity building for future coastal managers.