February 3, 2021 — The Port of San Diego and ECOncrete®, an eco-engineering company, have launched a three-year pilot project on Harbor Island to demonstrate an innovative new design of ECOncrete’s award-winning interlocking COASTALOCK Tide Pool Armor. Approved by the Board of Port Commissioners in 2019, the pilot project is part of the Port’s unique 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 pilot project facilitation.
Harbor Island is currently protected from storm flooding and erosion by a riprap rock mound, offering very limited habitat value. As part of the pilot project at the Port, the first COASTALOCK installation anywhere in the world will secure Harbor Island’s shoreline with 72 interlocking armor units to provide environmentally sensitive edge protection. Requiring minimal maintenance, the interlocking armor 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 armoring replacement to traditional riprap.
ECOncrete has developed a variety of technologies for the eco-engineering of urban, coastal and marine infrastructure, providing high-performance, environmentally sensitive concrete solutions for ever-growing climate change threats such as rising sea-levels and superstorms.
“ECOncrete’s COASTALOCK tide pool armor demonstrates an innovative approach that can be used for years to come for San Diego Bay. 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 is excited to launch the first installation of COASTALOCK here in the Port of San Diego. 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,” said Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Co-founder and CEO, ECOncrete. “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 the eighth project approved under the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator. Established in 2016, the program fosters sustainable aquaculture and pilots emerging blue technologies to build a portfolio of new businesses that can deliver multiple benefits to the whole Port community such as fisheries enhancement, ecosystem restoration, water quality improvements, environmental monitoring, and education and outreach. For more information about the Blue Economy Incubator visit portofsandiego.org/waterfront-development/blue-economy.