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Defencell & Coastal Erosion Control – The long term ‘temporary solution’ in Southern California

Receding coastlines are a problem throughout the world and a big one in Southern California where the question of how to prevent coastal erosion is a constant issue. Locals are quick to point out where the beach ‘used to be’ and are quick to attest to how quickly a single weather event will eat away at their coastal landscape never to return. This is growing problem resulting in the loss of thousands of acres of seafront property every year leaving property owners helpless to swallow the effects of property loss and resulting loss of property value.

When it comes to taking steps to protect your property from coastal erosion, there is a minefield of regulations which can become complicated, time consuming, and can leave property owners feeling frustrated and helpless. Additionally, these regulations are subject to change and typically vary from state to state.

(Photos: Reinforced coastline to stop beach erosion using a stacked Defencell configuration)

Flood Defense Group is delighted to have Defencell as a tool in their toolbox to mitigate against this problem.  Coastal erosion control or the reinforcement/creation of coastal berms or earthen berms is another form of flood defense we can help with.  Protecting or reinforcing these coastal berms not only mitigates against the effects of erosion, it also act as a first line of defense for surging stormwaters from the ocean or large bodies water which can be destructive and erosive in nature.

Why is Flood Defense Group so excited about Defencell for this situation?

In addition to being a wonderful product, it is a fantastic long-term solution when only temporary measures are allowed!

We are constantly working with customers who are dealing with coastal flooding and erosion problems who are unable take permanent measures to protect themselves from erosion and the loss of property.  This often leaves property owners with no options but go through the process of stacking sandbags which are labor intensive, inherently unstable, and have a limited lifespan and capability in stopping erosion and/or floodwaters.

If you are trying to stop beach erosion, looking for methods to combat beach erosion, or are looking at how to restore a beach, Defencell is a great solution which easily confirms to a variety of situations.

Defencell is a soil/sand containment system made exclusively out of geotextile and can therefore be classified as, ‘a sandbag’.  This product is one of the single best alternatives to sandbags on the market and is quickly constructed, easily modified, and has a long-life span compared to traditional sandbags.

However, unlike a traditional ‘sandbag’, Defencell is easily filled with locally available machinery, stacked with ease to achieve a desired height of protection, and can subsequently be buried and vegetated with native vegetation which is helpful in blending it into the surrounding environment for a longer term and aesthetically pleasing solution.

The project sequence detailed below is an addition to an existing Defencell project which was initially used to protect the structure in the photograph.  After a recent storm, the existing traditional sandbag fortifications were strewn about the beach and notable erosion continued to take place whereas the Defencell units in place stayed strong and did not experience loss of fill material from the storm or resulting wave action which overtopped the units.

The decision was made to fortify additional sections of the beach they had remaining which is detailed below.  In this case, the end user was working to reinforce their beach to combat beach erosion, but this application can also be used in examples like seawall repairs, raising seawalls, reinforcing coastal berms, or simply creating a safe spot for native vegetation to take root.

This is a common sequence of building Defencell on eroding coastlines.

1 – The footprint was prepared by digging down a pre-determined number of feet below the existing shoreline prior to constructing the first course of the Defencell product
NOTE:  Some end users choose to line this footprint with a geotextile fabric

2 – Defencell units are stretched out, aligned as desired and filled with sand or soil
NOTE:  You can see this structure is keyed in by about 3’ should scouring occur

3 – Subsequent rows are stacked on top of lower rows to achieve desired height
NOTE:  This structure came to a final stack of 3 layers in a ‘stairstep’ configuration


4 – Backfill the Defencell units with sand or soil and landscape as desired.  In this case, these units will likely be planted with native vegitation

Defencell is often chosen to stop coastal erosion or mitigate against it because not only is it effective, it is extremely inexpensive compared to most alternative options commonly found in the market or deployed in the coastal environment.

Common forms of hardening a beach to prevent coastal erosion consist of installing large rocks, rip rap, bulkheads, sheet piling, and concrete walls.  These structures are expensive, often difficult to get permitted for building, and leave a hardened beachfront whereas the Defencell product is extremely economical in comparison.  It is easy to build without specialized equipment or knowledge and allows for local fill material and vegitation which leaves a structure that does better at blending into the environment.

Similar to our opinion that there is no single best solution to stop all forms of floodwaters, we believe there is no best solution to stop coastal erosion or to prevent coastal erosion from happening but we do believe in the value of having a fantastic option in Defencell as one of the easiest and most effective metods on the market to stop coastal erosion or at least slow it down.

The lightweight nature of this product, simplicity of construction, and ability to use locally available fill material also make this product one of the easiest solutions to combat coastal erosion in even the most remote and hard to reach places where you may otherwise be forced to barge in rocks or rip rap.  It is environmentally inert, easily cut and modified during construction, and can be tailored to suite the most difficult of installation sites.

If your beach or coastline is eroding or if you are experiencing shoreline erosion of a lake, you appreciate the value of reacting with urgency to stop the problem that will only continue to get worse.  Defencell gives you options to combat coastal erosion in an economical option for both short term and long term applications when doing nothing is simply not an option.

If you are experiencing problems associated with beach erosion, coastal erosion, or other forms of erosion where water meets erosive soils, let us know and we would be happy to discuss options in using Defencell to combat these issues.  Whether you are looking for an immediate solution or are trying to price out any and all options available, the Defencell product is worth evaluating and comparing to options available.

If you are looking for feedback on how to protect your coastline, beaches, or lakefront property from erosion, please feel free to contact us to discuss any options we can provide.  We are happy to deliver a write-up on what we can provide to help you.  This will include detailing suggested materials required, construction time, and maintenance plans as applicable.  In providing feedback, it is always helpful to detail the height and length of protection you are looking to achieve as well as any details of the construction environment.  This can include details on soils you are building on, type of erosion you are experiencing, and any restrictions or special considerations for your work site and we are happy to details optionswe can assist with.  Pictures area always helpful in reviewing your unique situation and how we can help out.

Flood Defense Group believes that global warming is happening, weather systems are getting more violent, and our oceans are rising.  We believe that problems with coastal erosion will only get worse and likely accellerate as sea levels rise, storms become more violent, and greater amounts of moisture fall from the sky.  If you are experiencing problems associated with coastal erosion and resulting land loss, you likely appreciate that doing nothing is simply not an option and only immediate action can begin to resolve this problem.

Therefore, you will continue to find Flood Defense Group on the cutting edge of technology to combat flooding and the effects of erosion resulting from said floodwaters.  Our primary mission is to combat the effects of floodwaters but apart from that, we want to be helpful whenever we can.  We don’t care if you are using our products or not, if you need help or would benefit from an opinion of solutions available as it pertains to erosion control or combating floodwaters, let us know or give us a call anytime.  We will happily discuss any options we can assist with, other options on the market, and even home made or ‘fieldcraft’ options whenever appropriate.

We can be contacted anytime via email or phone and remain available to support you in any way we can.


Flood Defense Group