Brief 

The Port of San Diego is installing interlocking concrete units that can serve as homes for marine life. “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 from the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

 

Insight

The Port of San Diego has begun installing a unique type of sea wall to protect the edges of Harbor Island, a man-made peninsula in San Diego Bay, in the hope of restoring its marine ecosystem in a way conventional sea defences do not.

The Coastalock system, developed by Israel-based company Econcrete, comprises interlocking hollow units made of proprietary bio-enhancing concrete that provide habitats for oysters, starfish, algae, grasses, echinoderms and other marine wildlife – which can fail to thrive in the barren environments created by rubble or concrete modules, known as riprap.

In a three-year pilot, the port will replace riprap with 72 of the 3.5-tonne modules in two locations to see if it regenerates the local ecosystem by creating a series of rich, interlocking tidal pools.Econcrete said it is the first of several large-scale installations around the world of Coastalock, which was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best inventions in 2019.

The pilot is part of the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator scheme, which is promoting sustainable aquaculture and ocean-oriented – termed “Blue Economy” – technology ventures.Every six months, Econcrete will evaluate the viability of the tide pool units as an ecological armouring replacement to traditional riprap.

How it works

Econcrete was founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella to meet growing demand for ecological enhancement.

 

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