Honorable Mention
Next7 Competition

Marcel Wilson

The Estuary Services Pipeline (ESP) is a regional utility infrastructure designed to anticipate, adapt, respond, and leverage the changes presented by sea level rise in the 170 miles of coastline in the San Francisco Bay estuary. This century sea levels are projected to rise as much as 55” due to global climate change. This epic disaster will unfold slowly and threatens our most productive economies, infrastructures, cultures, and coastal ecologies. The sheer magnitude of the issue promises uncoordinated efforts among governments, agencies, and the private sector. Response is likely to be slow, late, and resource intensive. The pipeline is a coordinated large-scale force for the San Francisco Bay Metropolitan Area that leverages all available resources to engage the available time to offer efficiency, reduce disturbance, lower costs, and cope with known and unknown challenges that sea level rise and climate change present in the next century.

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Courtesy of Marcel Wilson – Next7 Competition

The San Francisco Bay Metropolis has a population of 7 million people, and a GDP of 487 billion. Much of the infrastructure and industries that support its economy and population are in areas directly threatened by sea level rise. In addition the bay itself is environmentally damaged, and accident prone. There are over 70 sites regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency at the Bay edge. There are potentially over 100,000 acres that could be restored to tidal marsh, but costs, lack of sediments, and high salinity prevent progress. There have been more than 10 major oil spills in the Bay since 1970. Most recently in 2008 the container ship Cosco Busan spill released 53,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel.

Both rigid and flexible, hard and soft, the pipeline will use conventional pipeline technology to conduct ecological flows. Financed by a new financial market for sediment materials management and transfer, the Estuary Services Pipeline will build a biomechanical relationship with San Francisco Bay. The ESP is malleable, adaptable, and generative. It will facilitate ecosystem management operations: construct coastal defenses, supply industries, raise land, create habitats, clean up contamination spills, manage invasive species, and provide civic scale waterfront spaces and programs. These operations will transpire through the ESP’s four primary functions.

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Courtesy of Marcel Wilson – Next7 Competition

Every year 400 million cubic yards of sediment is dredged from US Ports—enough to fill a four lane highway 20 feet deep from New York to Los Angeles. An ESP is designed to conduct sediments and other landscape materials from places where they are burdens (shipping lanes and ports) to places where they are needed for coastal defense, land elevation, and habitat creation. Any soft, loose, or liquid material can be conveyed including water, sediment, plant materials, and contaminated soils.

To cope with climate change influences, thermal exchange loops mediate water temperatures. Shallow areas support industrial ecologies including algal biofuels, aquaculture, remediation wetlands, and waste water treatment. Thermal loops supply the needs of these industries by exchanging warm water in shallow areas with cool water from deep trenches.

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Courtesy of Marcel Wilson – Next7 Competition

An ESP and its utilities can maintain invasive species populations and others as they migrate into estuaries over time. In disaster times when large-scale quick response is needed, an ESP would function as a conduit for evacuating spills and moving contaminants to holding tanks and settling ponds.

Support operations and other programs are stationed on a fleet of pontoons that serve as new programmatic realms during the adaptive replacement of waterfronts over the next 100+ years. Forms are intentionally simple to allow for periodic relocation, maximum stability, and modular configurations in flotillas. Along withsupport operations, pontoons host civic-scale programs and income-producing uses that are difficult to locate in urban areas such as marinas and food production. Pontoons provide a substitute for waterfront programs displaced by coastal projects of long construction periods.

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