Economic Opportunities in Coastal Restoration

Restoration projects could spur innovation in older, traditional industries as well. Geosynthetics, plastic materials and fabrics used in traditional engineering projects, are now being used for containment dikes, support structures and other coastal restoration projects. The emerging geosynthetics industry can create jobs benefitting nearly 200 business locations along the Gulf Coast and in 31 other states.

Expanding coastal restoration efforts could allow the industry to expand into new markets such as intelligent geotextiles, in which geocomposits fitted with fiber optics can detect and provide warnings for potential breaches in coastal structures before they occur. Industry leaders say they could see an explosion of uses for geotextiles including marsh creation, artificial reefs for ecosystem restoration, levees, dikes and floodwalls for flood prevention and jetties, dunes and beach cores for erosion control.

A 2012 study by Datu Research, Inc. analyzed the use and opportunities for geosynthetics products for coastal applications in the Gulf.

Louisiana Guard constructs Hesco wall

The Louisiana National Guard constructs a wall of sand-filled Hesco Concertainer units in Cameron, La. to help keep oil-tainted water in the Gulf of Mexico from moving inland. June 22, 2010.

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U.S. value chain for coastal restoration

U.S. value chain for coastal restoration projects

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Coastal restoration projects using geosynthetics trigger a value chain of six categories of goods and services, including materials, equipment, manufacturing, distribution, planning and design, and construction.

Restoration projects are increasingly using geosynthetics products because they can improve structure design, reduce project time and cost and lessen environmental impact of heavy machinery used in restoration.

Stephanie Victory, President & CEO, HESCO Bastion USA, Inc.:
Our geotextile products are incorporated into a welded-wire system which provides a low-cost solution to a wide range of coastal restoration and protection challenges, from oyster reef construction to flood protection. We have completed projects all over the world. Some of the most recent range from emergency flood responses in Thailand to building HESCO Delta® Unit oyster reefs just north of Gulf Shores, Ala. We are thrilled that the RESTORE Act passage will create more opportunities for jobs and coastal restoration efforts back home in Louisiana and across the Gulf region.
Stephanie Victory, President & CEO, HESCO Bastion USA, Inc.

The geosynthetics industry is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6.8 percent through 2015 and the share of geosynthetics used for coastal management is expected to grow at a similar rate.1

The above data is the product of surveys conducted by Datu Research LLC and the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness. The full report can be found at: Geosynthetics: Coastal Management Applications in the Gulf of Mexico.

  1. (Aho, 2012; Freedonia, 2011)