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Eco-engineering solution for nature-based shoreline protection at the port of San Diego (USA)

Eco-engineering solution for nature-based shoreline protection at the port of San Diego (USA)

Refs : Bouw, Matthijs Bouw and VAN EEKELEN, (2020). Building With Nature - Creating, Implementing And Upscaling Nature - Based Solutions. EcoShape, NAi Booksellers 2020 Bridges, T. S. (2021). International Guidelines on Natural and Nature-Based Features for Flood Risk Management. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.2021 Coombes, Martin A, et al. (2017). “Cool barnacles: Do common biogenic structures enhance or retard rates of deterioration of intertidal rocks and concrete?” Science of the Total Environment 580 1034-1045. Elsevier, 2017 De Vriend, Huib and VAN KONINGSVELD, Mark and AARNINKHOF, Stefan. (2014). “Building with nature”: The new Dutch approach to coastal and river works. ICE Proceedings Civil Engineering. 167. 18-24. 10.1680/cien.13.00003. Firth, L. B., et al. "Between a rock and a hard place: environmental and engineering considerations when designing coastal defence structures." Coastal Engineering 87 : 122-135. 2014 Perkol-Finkel, , Shimrit, and SELLA, Ido (2014). "Ecologically active concrete for coastal and marine infrastructure: innovative matrices and designs." From Sea to Shore–Meeting the Challenges of the Sea: (Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters 2013). ICE publishing, 2014. Perkol-Finkel, , Shimrit, and SELLA, Ido (2015) "Harnessing urban coastal infrastructure for ecological enhancement." Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Maritime Engineering. Vol. 168. No. 3. Thomas Telford Ltd, 2015. Sella, , Ido, and PERKOL-FINKEL, Shimrit (2015) "Blue is the new green- Ecological enhancement of concrete based coastal and marine infrastructure." Ecological Engineering 84. 260-272. Elsevier, 2015. Sella, Ido (2022), et al. “Design, production, and validation of the biological and structural performance of an ecologically engineered concrete block mattress: A Nature‐Inclusive Design for shoreline and offshore construction”. Integrated environmental assessment and management 18.1: 148-162. 2022


The Port of San Diego (Port) partnered on a pilot project with ECOncrete Tech Ltd.
(ECOncrete), a company developing bio-enhancing concrete technology and ecological structural
solutions, to demonstrate an innovative approach of building resilient coastal infrastructures. The
goal of the pilot project was to provide an ecologically enhanced armor layer for shoreline
protection, while creating well-defined local ecosystems that mimic natural rock pools. The unique
partnership between ECOncrete and the Port resulted in a holistic project design to address not
only the structural and coastal engineering requirements for shoreline protection and stabilization,
but also the need to promote native marine habitats, increase biodiversity and restore local coastal
ecosystems. As part of the pilot project, ECOncrete will be conducting ecological and structural
monitoring every six months for two years. The project was launched in 2021 and the results from
the first biological monitoring event showed development towards a richer and more diverse
community, compared to adjacent control rocks. The pilot project demonstrates that Ports, with
the use of innovative technologies and materials, can achieve both structural and ecological goals
when designing coastal infrastructure. The resulting shoreline protection design is a single-layer
armor structure composed of interlocking units of bio-enhancing concrete, with multidirectional
characteristics, and water retention elements.

KEYWORDS: Eco-engineering, innovation, nature-based design, bio-enhancing, concrete

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