Beach Recovery Foundation Design Challenges
The primary cause for the erosion of our coastlines is of our own doing: dredging. When we cut the sea bottoms to make them deeper for boats to navigate, nature immediately attempts to fill them in with our coastlines. Challenges #1 and #2 seek to do away with the need to dredge, if at all possible. Challenge #3 tackles adjusting to sea level rise, while challenge #4 seeks to eradicate the tons of garbage dumped into and poisoning our seas. If you have a unique solution, please let us know!
Design Challenge #1 An Offshore Port
Rather than dig out our shores to allow large boats to dock along our coastlines, why not build our ports where the water is naturally deep enough to accommodate them? According to one industry expert:The estimated overall cost reduction for an East Coast multi-user offshore hub compared to improving existing ports and relying on overland transport would be between 30 to 40 percent for both investment and operations.The historic city of Venice, Italy (below) is currently designing an off-shore terminal to be situated some eight miles off the Malamocco port mouth where the seabed has a natural depth of 20 m.
Design Challenge #2 A Water Bridge
Harbors provide a safe haven for boats from rough seas. Often these bodies of water can be so secluded that channels and inlets need to be dredged through and between land masses to most expeditiously get the vessels out to sea. Given that conventional bridges enable vehicles and pedestrians to traverse conveniently over water, why not design a bridge that allows boats to easily navigate across intervening land? Germany’s Magdeburg Water Bridge (below) is one incredible example of such engineering, spanning 918 meters, and taking six years to build at a cost of 500 (about $550m US).
While water bridges are indeed possible, their expense doesn’t always make them practical. Surely there are other economical and safe ways to quickly and easily transport boats over intervening land? Might vessels be hoisted up and over land, floating like toy boats in a bathtub? Perhaps they can be latched into some sort of trailer and rolled along a roadway? How about pulled by a cable over a series of rollers?
Design Challenge #3 A Sea Rise Diverter
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS):Sea-level rise is particularly critical for low-lying coral atoll islands, many of which have maximum elevations of less than 4 meters (about 13 feet) above present sea level. The amount of land and water available for human habitation, water and food sources, and ecosystems is limited and extremely vulnerable to inundation from sea-level rise.The images below,taken in 2008 (left) and 2014 (right) on the low-lying shores of Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, attest to the gravity of the situation.
Interestingly, though sea-rise is undisputed, scientists have found that of the 600 coral reef reef islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans they analyzed, 80 percent of the islands have remained stable or increased in size (roughly 40 percent in each category). Only 20 percent have shown the net reduction that’s widely assumed to be a typical island’s fate when sea level rises. As it turns out, the vast majority of the eroding islands have been those that have been urbanized, where man has dredged, destroyed the coral reefs, and armored the coastlines. What can we possibly do to reverse this man-made damage?
Design Challenge #4 Eradicating Ocean Plastic Pollution
The enormity of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been well documented. Our Come with 1 Leave with 2 campaign is one of many designed to slow its growth. But what can be done to clean up what is already out there floating around, poisoning our seas and sea creatures? Do we launch ships with fish-safe nets to gather it all up to recycle (below left)? Do we create stationary devices at sea and let the plastic float to us (below right)? Is there a better way? A better design?