Amalgamate Solutions and Research (ASR), the world leader in the design and construction of multi-purpose artificial reefs, announced today that it has completed Europe’s first multi-purpose reef on the Boscombe shoreline, just outside of southern England’s coastal town of Bournemouth. The reef was engineered and constructed by ASR, who spearheads the movement towards environmentally sensitive coastal protection.
ASR was enlisted to help Bournemouth improve its surfing conditions in order to increase tourism, which is part of the town’s 18 million dollar Boscombe Spa Village regeneration plan, but the new reef will provide a much more substantial benefit to the beachside community. Mimicking nature, the multi-purpose reef provides the same beach protection benefits of natural reefs - acting as a protective barrier to the coastline to help decrease sand erosion on beaches, as well as creating a new marine habitat.
“At ASR we’re passionate about multi-purpose reefs as the sustainable future of coastal protection. Our beaches are facing increasing direct and in-direct threats from both humanity and the natural world, with issues like global warming and the rise of the sea level,” said Nick Behunin, managing partner, ASR. “While the initial investment to build a reef is often more than seawalls and rock jetties, the environmental and economic benefits of multi-purpose reefs far exceed those of the traditional methods - as beaches are protected without creating blight, marine habitat is enhanced and beach communities get socio-economic benefits from increased recreational use.”
There are several unique benefits to the creation of multi-purpose reefs as it pertains to coastal protection:
* Reefs decrease the rate of erosion on beaches by dissipating wave energy before it has a chance to hit the beach
* Reefs create marine habitat and increase ecology
* Reefs can be designed to create a recreational amenity like surfing, diving and fishing
* Reefs are submerged offshore structures, supporting the natural beauty of the beach and ocean, unlike prominent seawalls or groin structures, which can be unsightly and create blight
“The Boscombe Spa Village project already produced a rise in tourism, even before the completion of the reef, re-establishing Boscombe to its rightful place as a leading destination beach resort. An affluent surfer market is attracted to the area, and as a result, jobs have been created, the seafront transformed, a new water sports facility built and a community revived. The reef is a perfect example of how an innovative free-to-use project can have such a positive ripple effect in an area,” said Roger Brown, Director of Leisure Services, Bournemouth Borough Council. “While the reef will improve wave quality for surfers, it’s exciting to know that there are underwater benefits too, as sea life, including cuttlefish and spidercrabs, have already been making the artificial surf reef at Boscombe their home.”
What is a Multi-Purpose Reef?
Using cutting-edge biomimicry technology, multi-purpose reefs provide protection to shorelines in order to prevent sand erosion, while simultaneously enhancing the under-water ecology and creating a recreational amenity for fisherman, divers and in some cases, surfers.
Multi-purpose reefs are constructed under water outside the shoreline, in order to protect the beach from wave action. The construction of reefs is highly specialized and uses geo-textile bags, weighing upwards of 2,500 tons that are secured to a base that is anchored to the ocean floor. Sand is then pumped into the bags, as divers monitor the process from the sea floor to ensure design requirements are met. Construction must be conducted during perfect weather conditions and while the ocean is flat and calm.
The reef does not create waves, but instead acts as a ramp that changes the way the waves break - it harnesses existing wave energy that used to break on the sand, causing erosion, and channels it to break on the offshore reef instead. As a result, the beach is protected, ecology is enhanced, and improved conditions are created for surfers, divers and fishermen.
Upcoming Projects - India’s First Coastal Protection Reef
ASR has done design and feasibility study work for over 40 reefs around the world, with the level of interest from governments, developers and local communities growing at a rapid pace.
ASR is currently constructing India’s first coastal protection reef in Kovalam, Kerala, India. Kovalam a popular tourist destination in southern India, but its shoreline is at risk of coastal erosion during the monsoon season. ASR was contacted by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala through the Department of Harbour Engineering to design and construct an offshore multi-purpose reef to protect the beach, while improving ecology and enhancing tourism through the introduction of a recreational water activities, such as surfing. Pending good weather, the reef is expected to be completed in Q1 2010.
ASR also has plans to start several other reef projects in Europe, South Africa and the United States.