Port of San Diego approves pilot program to install 72 eco-friendly tide pools

ECOncrete, started by marine biologists with aims to create sustainable, safe coastal infrastructure, will be the eighth partnership under the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator.

SAN DIEGO—Port of San Diego announced the approval of a new partnership to enhance the post as the center for blue economy incubators. In a release on July 29, Port of San Diego staff said that the approval for a pilot project with ECOncrete Inc. to test a new design of concrete tidepools would be the eighth project endorsed under the Port’s Blue Economy.

ECOncrete is a marine engineering developer that works to create sustainable solutions for coastal infrastructure like breakwaters, seawalls, dykes, tide pools and other products that aim to protect California’s unique ocean ecosystem. The company was founded by two marine biologists, Dr. Ido Sella and Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, in 2012.In addition to launching a project with Port of San Diego, ECOncrete has worked with port cities all over the world to boost marine habitats.

Port of San Diego staff said in the statement, “ECOncrete’s new Coastal Star tide pool has a star-like appearance and is designed to interlock with other Coastal Star tide pools, potentially serving as a replacement for traditional riprap to provide ecological armoring and shoreline stabilization while also creating well-defined local ecosystems that mimic natural rock pools. The tide pools are made with an environmentally sensitive, low carbon concrete mixture tailored to the environment in which they’re installed. Additionally, the concrete’s chemical composition along with the complex textures and features in the design provide for a favorable environment in which to grow a rich diversity of sea plants, animals and organisms.”

As part of a three-year program, 72 of the concrete tide pools, known as Coastal Star tide pools, will be installed in three locations along Harbor Island. In addition to being sustainable, ECOncrete will be able to monitor the pools every six months after installation, gathering statistics about the results – including how this innovative process could allow for coastal development and urbanization while still protecting the sea critters.

“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 stabilization, help guard against coastal flooding, and improve the ecology of our bay water. As a bonus, residents and visitors can come down to Harbor Island and check out what kind of sea life takes residence in the tide pools,” said Chairman Garry Bonelli, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

Several officials in California, including Port of Los Angeles and Ventura, have voiced their desire to pursue aquaculture as a means to provide more jobs as well as support the marine ecosystem. Port of San Diego established Blue Economy Incubator in 2016 “to build a portfolio of new businesses” that will contribute to the Port’s diverse community of waterfront-related industries such as fisheries, education, environmental protection and monitoring and more.

Learn more about ECOncrete at  econcretetech.com. Visit portofsandiego.org to learn more about the Blue Economy initiative.

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