Structure and ecology prop

The Port of San Diego and eco-engineering company ECOncrete have launched a three-year pilot project on Harbor Island in the Bahamas to demonstrate a new variant of the firm’s interlocking COASTALOCK tide pool armour.

Harbor Island is currently protected from storm flooding and erosion by a
rock mound, seemingly offering very limited habitat value. As part of the new pilot project, the first COASTALOCK installation anywhere in the world will secure the shoreline with 72 interlocking armour units to provide environmentally sensitive edge protection.

Said to require minimal maintenance, the interlocking armour provides “structural, ecological and community engagement benefits”, including the promotion of marine organisms and restoration of local ecosystems. Every six months after installation, ECOncrete will evaluate the viability of the tide pool units as an ecological armouring replacement to traditional riprap.

ECOncrete says it has developed a variety of technologies for the eco-engineering of urban, coastal and marine infrastructure, providing high-performance, environmentally sensitive concrete solutions against climate change threats such as rising sea-levels and superstorms.

“By mimicking natural rock pools with beautiful water retaining features, the project will sustain valuable marine life while coping with climate change and urbanization,” said Rafael Castellanos of Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. He said locals and visitors would be able “to see first-hand what kind of sea life takes residence in man-made tide pools.”

CEO of ECOncrete Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel said: “This Blue Economy pilot is proving that the coastal and marine construction industry can achieve two goals at once: any concrete infrastructure going into the water can perform structurally and be good for ecosystems.”

“COASTALOCK is a fully load bearing, durable solution that changes the form and function of our developed coastlines – making them stronger, able to store carbon, while rejuvenating the precious coastal ecosystems, and inviting the local community to engage with their waterfront.”   

ECOncrete is approved under the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator. Tthe program aims to foster sustainable aquaculture and pilots technologies to deliver benefits such as fisheries enhancement, ecosystem restoration, water quality improvements, environmental monitoring, and education and outreach.