The Port of San Diego has partnered with Israeli company ECONcrete for a three-year pilot project to install ecologically friendly concrete infrastructures in an effort to boost marine ecosystems in tide pools on the man-made peninsula, Harbor Island.
ECOncrete’s award-winning interlocking COASTALOCK Tide Pool Armor will secure Harbor Island’s shoreline with 72 interlocking armor units to provide environmental protection, according to a joint announcement this week.
Founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella , ECOncrete develops sustainable concrete for constructing ecologically active infrastructures in coastal and marine environments as well as in urban landscapes. Its products and technologies can be integrated into the construction of breakwaters, seawalls, piers, and waterfront, enhancing marine life while strengthening the infrastructure.
The San Diego project was approved by the Board of Port Commissioners last year and is part of the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, a launching pad for sustainable aquaculture and Port-related blue technology ventures that provides early-stage entrepreneurs with key assets and support services focused on project facilitation.
“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 Commissioner Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Harbor Island is the first and only location in Southern California for locals and visitors to see first-hand what kind of sea life takes residence in man-made tide pools.”
“ECOncrete’s COASTALOCKtide pool armor demonstrates an innovative approach that can be used for years to come for San Diego Bay,” he added.
“ECOncrete is excited to launch the first installation of COASTALOCK here in the Port of San Diego,” said ECONcrete’s Dr. Perkol-Finkel. “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, she explained, is a “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 will evaluate the viability of the tide pool units every six months as an ecological armoring replacement to traditional riprap.
The Israeli company indicated that the San Diego project was one of several upcoming large-scale projects to provide marine-friendly durable solutions for the protection of the environment.
The awar-winning company was listed in the design category of TIME’s list of 100 Best Inventions of 2019 and was also listed by Fast Company on its “World’s Most Innovative Companies” of 2019. ECONcrete was also featured in an episode of the web series Nas Daily.