Rocky Shore Inspired Coastal Defense Units

Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Dr. Ido Sella, Dr. Andrew Rella, Adi Neuman, Tomer Hadary, Rviv Shirazi, Barak Saar, Nava Taragin, ECOcrete, Israel

Due to a combined effect of increasing human population, and growing climate change threats, coastal defense schemes such as breakwaters, seawalls and revetments, increasingly replace valuable natural habitats with "gray" hardened shorelines, creating tremendous pressure on the fragile marine and coastal ecosystems.

In order to develop a "blue-green" alternative, we've analyzed various elements of natural tide pools, rocky shores and oyster beds, and integrated key features that help address three main problems of coastal infrastructure: material composition, surface complexity and macro design. Through science based design, that mimics natural characteristics of rock pool and tide pool formations (e.g., varying depth, and water volumes, shapes and textures) as well as mimicking complexity features of different habitat forming species (like oyster shells, tube worms and coralline algae), a fully functional and constructive coastal defense unit was developed, which encourages growth of diverse flora and fauna typical to adjacent natural habitats.

Pilots of the eco-engineered units have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, showing excellent results both in terms of coastal protection performance and ecological uplift. 6, 12 and 24 month post installation monitoring found ECOncrete’s rocky shore inspired coastal defense unit’s induced significantly greater species diversity and richness of native fish and invertebrates compared to standard engineering solutions, successfully mimicking features of natural rocky habitats.