Concrete tide pools protect California coast

tide pool The tide pools are made with an environmentally sensitive, low carbon concrete mixture. Image: ECOncrete

A new design of concrete tide pools will be tested in California to assess their ability to aid shoreline stabilisation, help guard against coastal flooding and support local ecosystems.

At the start of its three-year pilot project with the Port of San Diego, ECOncrete will install 72 of its Coastal Star tide pools across three sites along the shoreline of Harbor Island, part of the port. The tide pools have a star-like appearance and are designed to interlock with other Coastal Star tide pools, potentially serving as a replacement for traditional riprap to provide ecological armouring and shoreline stabilisation while also creating well-defined local ecosystems that mimic natural rock pools.

“ECOncrete’s Coastal Star tide pools have great potential to provide many benefits for San Diego Bay. The Port looks forward to seeing if they can provide shoreline stabilisation, help guard against coastal flooding, and improve the ecology of our bay water,” said Garry Bonelli, chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

Encouraging eco life

The tide pools are made with an environmentally sensitive, low carbon concrete mixture tailored to the environment in which they’re installed. The concrete’s chemical composition along with the complex textures and features in the design are designed to provide for a favourable environment in which to grow a rich diversity of sea plants, animals and organisms.

Every six months after installation, ECOncrete will evaluate the viability of the tide pool units as an ecological armouring replacement for traditional riprap. Results may demonstrate an innovative win-win approach to coastal development, bridging the need for coping with climate change and urbanisation while sustaining valuable marine life.

ECOncrete is the eighth project approved under the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, set up under the port’s Aquaculture and Blue Tech programme to support entrepreneurship, foster sustainable aquaculture, and help drive blue tech innovation.

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