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Press Release

David Revell at Forefront of Nature-Based Solutions in California

By David L. Revell, Ph.D., Principal, Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience
Samantha Eanes, P.E., Project Engineer

David Revell, Ph.D., and Samantha Eanes, P.E., next to the nearly finished driftlog structure. The vertical pin logs will be the elevation of the finished sand dune crest.

Geomorphologist and principal at Integral Consulting Inc. David Revell, Ph.D., and engineer Samantha Eanes, P.E., are leading a nature-based “living shoreline” project with California State Parks that aims to combat coastal erosion and flooding of a public restroom and critical sewer pump station at Rio del Mar State Beach near Santa Cruz, California.

What makes this project unique are the vision and commitment to using native materials that are already onsite and local to the beach, rather than creating artificial structures such as a seawall. By using driftwood and sand found at the state beach, the project will work in harmony with the local environment, not against it. The first phase of the project is building an engineered logjam that will form the backbone of a sand dune. Future phases of the project propose to cover this drift log wall with sand, and eventually add a cobble base and dune vegetation. Design principles have been carefully considered to maintain beach access and ocean views from the public walkway adjacent to the project.

While this project is not a long-term solution to climate change, it is an important step forward to restore and protect Rio del Mar Beach.

“How long the logjam will last and how long it’s feasible to use it are yet to be determined, but protecting from erosion and storm flooding is one of the first pieces we can address,” Dr. Revell said.

Erosion at Rio del Mar State Beach before (left). Post-construction aerial view of site (right).

Dr. Revell’s more than 25 years of experience in areas such as living shorelines, coastal resiliency, climate change, spatial analysis, and estuary management has led to his long-time dedication to nature-based solutions. Dr. Revell’s approach to this Rio del Mar Beach project is an innovative approach in California.