August 29, 2023

Tyler Ortego Joins Natrx as GM of Coastal Solutions

We're thrilled to announce the addition of Tyler Ortego as our GM of Coastal Solutions. Tyler adds an invaluable level of expertise and experience in real-world implementations of coastal and biological engineering solutions. The original news item is below:


Raleigh-based climate technology company Natrx, the industry leader in adaptive infrastructure, has appointed Tyler Ortego as General Manager of Coastal Solutions.

Ortego is a co-founder of Natrx, which specializes in advanced, high-performance technologies that power the development of nature-based environmental resilience systems. As a member of the company’s senior executive team, Ortego contributes extensive industry knowledge and field construction expertise to large-scale solutions designed to protect climate-exposed assets. Being based in the New Orleans area, Ortego will provide a senior leadership presence in the Southern Louisiana/Gulf Coast region where coastal resilience solutions are critical and where Natrx has several projects currently in progress.

Recognized as a leading authority in coastal resilience engineering, Ortego is a charter board member of the Louisiana Chapter of COPRI (Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute) where he served as chair. His professional career has been dedicated to creating sustainable, complementary relationships between natural ecosystems and coastal infrastructure. 

“Tyler is a distinguished engineer known for his commitment to harnessing the power of nature to enhance coastal resilience,” said Natrx president Matt Campbell. “His visionary approach helped establish Natrx as a global innovator that is able to deliver solutions at industrial scale around the world.”

Ortego earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Biological Engineering at Louisiana State University, where he conducted groundbreaking research focused on optimizing concrete structures to facilitate oyster growth. Inspired by the impact of Hurricane Katrina on coastal Louisiana, his work on a modular, oyster-growing shoreline protection system was the genesis for the climate resilience technology company he co-founded with Campbell. The company was branded as Natrx in 2018.

“Our technologies enable us to create adaptive coastal infrastructure that works together with the natural ecosystem,” said Ortego. “Our mission is to create nature-based solutions that deliver both environmental and economic benefits to coastal communities so they can thrive for generations.” 

Ortego actively contributes to the technical standards for Additive Manufacturing in Construction and Sustainability committees established by ASTM International, the leading industry organization.

April 24, 2023

$9M grant aims to restore Waikīkī reefs with coral nurseries

A coral reef restoration project off iconic Waikīkī Beach has been recommended for a $9 million grant by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAAOffice of Habitat Conservation.

The REEFrame project is a partnership by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Conservation International, the Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources, the ocean technology firm Natrx, the ocean engineering firm Oceanit, and workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI. The project will run from summer 2023 to mid-2026.

Preliminary visualization of a portion of a REEFrame permanent coral nursery immediately after deployment. Each 3D concrete printed module measures about one cubic yard. (Image credit: Natrx)

“Many reefs in the region are now so degraded that there is little living coral, collapsing to the point where they no longer provide shelter for fish,” said the REEFrame science lead Mark Hixon from UH Mānoa’s School of Life Sciences. “Unfortunately, many reefs around Oʻahu and other highly populated Hawaiian Islands now have few parrotfish and other seaweed eaters. Our reefs are in danger of being lost to ocean warming unless we help them recover with these interventions.”

“We are honored to work with the people of Hawaiʻi on this innovative and inclusive approach to restoring our precious coral reefs,” said Matt Ramsey, senior director of Conservation International Hawaiʻi. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that our present and future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of healthy and thriving coral reefs.”

This initiative is one of nearly 150 projects across 30 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories that were recommended to receive a total of $562 million. Vice President Kamala Harris made the announcement on April 21. These investments are an effort to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda. The awards are made under NOAA’s Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative and are funded by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Project details

Planning and working with local stakeholders and pending numerous permits, the team is proposing to build two permanent coral nurseries—each about 100 feet by 100 feet and about 6 feet tall—on a bare rock seafloor in about 55 feet of water about ¾ mile off Waikīkī Beach. Construction could begin by 2025 after specific plans, environmental studies and permits are finalized. Made of stacked 3D-printed concrete modules in organic shapes with many holes and overhangs for fishes and other sea life, the nurseries are intended to serve two purposes:

  • “Corals of opportunity,” which are living coral colonies dislodged by storms, ship groundings, anchor drags or other disturbances, will be attached to the structures for temporary keeping until they are later transplanted to areas lacking coral. The process is similar to transplanting nursery trees after a forest fire, helping to restore the forest.
  • By attracting fish, especially parrotfish (uhu) and other seaweed eaters that keep reef surfaces clean so corals can flourish, the complex structure of the nurseries will gradually be colonized by naturally settling coral larvae, eventually becoming coral reefs in their own right. A preliminary experimental study off Waikīkī by Hixon and his lab demonstrated the feasibility of this approach.

Close-up preliminary visualization of 3D printed concrete modules with corals-of-opportunity mounted on attachment points, as well as colonizing species beneficial to corals, including trapezia crabs that defend coral from predators (lower left), surgeonfishes and sea urchins that control seaweeds, and various fishes known to fertilize corals with their feces. (Image credit: Natrx and UH Mānoa)

“Essentially, the project will assist the natural process of coral regrowth by providing the structural framework that is needed for a healthy reef ecosystem. This is why we call the project REEFrame,” said coastal engineer Mike Foley of Oceanit.

“The three-dimensional framework of the nurseries will attract fish and corals, eventually becoming productive fishing reefs in their own right,” added Matt Campbell of Natrx.

Project outreach

The team will consult with local and cultural organizations during the design phase of the project, learning from ocean users, incorporating historical Indigenous practices where appropriate, and educating the public about the goals of and science and engineering behind the project. The team recognizes the cultural, economic and biological value of the Waikīkī region, and aims to minimize any impacts in helping to restore this valuable resource.

ClimbHI will help connect project organizers with schools statewide to provide opportunities for student and educator involvement, as well as partnerships with various industries.

“REEFrame offers a way for our keiki to gain valuable hands-on experience with leading environmental organizations and businesses,” said Julie Morikawa, president of ClimbHI. “We look forward to building widespread participation with this project from our local communities.”

The Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) will facilitate the permitting process for the project.

“This project is a positive step towards habitat restoration for the fisheries of our islands,” said Brian Neilson, DAR Administrator.

As climate change continues to warm the oceans, coral bleaching—where heat waves cause corals to turn white and often die—is becoming more common in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere. When corals die, they are soon covered by seaweeds unless abundant uhu and other fish eat them, freeing space for new corals to grow. Corals are like the trees of a forest, providing habitat for many species. No coral means no reef, no fisheries, no natural breakwaters, and no sustainable sources of new beach sand that reduces coastal erosion as sea levels continue to rise.

NOAA is excited to be supporting our partners’ innovative efforts to restore coral reefs off the coast of Waikīkī Beach,” said Carrie Selberg Robinson, director of NOAA‘s Office of Habitat Conservation. “Coral reefs provide countless benefits for fisheries and coastal communities, and reef restoration projects are crucial for preserving the future of these important habitats.”

For general questions, email

October 24, 2022

Natrx ExoForms Featured on PBS North Carolina

We're thrilled to have had our ExoForms and our patented forming process featured on PBS North Carolina's show Sci NC.

In this piece you'll get an overview of our 3D forming process. Unlike traditional methods that make use of "materials of convenience" like recycled pipes, concrete, or even old ships, our process uses a minimal amount of material in the creation of our naturalistically-shaped, coastal protection modules. And unlike any recycled or traditional materials that have been in common use, our ExoForms are designed specifically for the sites where they are used to break up wave energy and provide safe, beneficial habitats for local aquatic life.

Give it a watch for a closer look at how our innovative 3D forming process is creating new opportunities for coastal protection and ecosystem resilience. And thank you, PBS NC!

You can get more detail on our Natrx ExoForms here: Natrx ExoForms Tech Overview

And you can view the whole episode and more in the series here at PBS NC.

March 10, 2022

Danos Completes Nature-Based Coastal Restoration Projects

In late 2021, Danos completed four coastal restoration projects in south Louisiana on behalf of Shell Pipeline Company. The work will provide shoreline protection through a combination of customized 3D printed modules, nicknamed “Cajun Coral,” and advanced satellite image monitoring with partner Natrx, Inc. The project designs and installation procedures were tailored to local site conditions in order to enhance biodiversity and shoreline stability.

We look forward to continuing our joint work to facilitate effective, nature-based solutions and to quantify the benefits such as biodiversity, vegetation health and natural carbon sequestration.

Leonard Nelson
Natrx CEO

“Louisiana’s coast is vital to our industry and our environment,” said Paul Danos, CEO of Danos. “Using technology to help restore the ecosystem, is one way Danos is living our purpose of solving big challenges for our customers and our communities.”

“Shell is committed to making a positive contribution to biodiversity in critical habitat areas where we operate, such as Louisiana’s coast, while delivering safe and reliable operations,” said Greg Mouras, general manager operations, Shell Pipeline Company. “We value Danos and Natrx’s support in bringing innovative, nature-based projects to life which serve both objectives, enabling important sustainability benefits, including wetland conservation and oyster creation, while protecting our pipeline infrastructure.”

In partnership with Natrx, Danos managed the project on behalf of Shell, including designing the technical drawings and installation plans. Danos’ construction team then completed the infrastructure fabrication and aided in installation on-site, in the marshes of Terrebonne Parish.


Faster and Safer Installs

The Danos and Natrx team developed the concept of “Cajun Coral,” a solution that combats erosion while providing ongoing resilience through the growth of oysters and marsh. The structures were optimized to allow a controlled flow of water to pass which, in turn, provides a healthy new habitat for oysters. As water flows through the barrier, oysters are nourished and sediments are deposited that encourage new marsh growth, support marine life and provide protection that grows stronger and more resilient over time.

"Cajun Coral" builds resilience and promotes healthy habitat growth.

In 2019, Shell GameChanger and The Idea Village teamed up for an accelerator program, ENERGYx in New Orleans, to support startups and innovators with the potential to impact the future of Louisiana and coastal areas around the world. Natrx was one of the companies selected for the program, which focused on emerging innovative technologies for coastal construction and water management that improves the capital efficiency of real projects on-the-ground.

“The partnership with Danos and Shell Pipeline Company has created new techniques for adaptive management of natural systems in south Louisiana,” said Natrx CEO Leonard Nelson. “We look forward to continuing our joint work to facilitate effective, nature-based solutions and to quantify the benefits such as biodiversity, vegetation health and natural carbon sequestration.”

January 13, 2022

The Grow Louisiana Coalition Features the Natrx Adaptive Infrastructure Approach

Natrx provides the key technology in this coalition of innovative partners to help enhance and stabilize Louisiana’s shorelines. 


We're proud to have our nature-based, adaptive infrastructure approach featured as the key technology in this effort by an innovative group of partners to bolster shoreline resilience in the communities of southern Lafourche Parish. Watch the video above for the story.

For more detail on how our nature-based, habitat-positive approach is enhancing coastline resilience you can read our original post about it here.

And you can read the Grow Louisiana Coalition's story about the project below:

Industry is utilizing partnerships to secure the latest technologies to help enhance and stabilize Louisiana’s shorelines.

Over the past eight years, ConocoPhillips and Ducks Unlimited have restored or enhanced over 800 acres immediately outside of the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection System. This work provides shoreline protection, marsh enhancement and terracing that increase the resilience of the levee system and protect the surrounding communities. This area is exposed to increasing storm surges and weather events such as the storms hitting the Louisiana coast in 2020 and 2021, as well as erosion from day-to-day tidal action.

Natrx, A Shell GameChanger company, utilized its intelligent, adaptive infrastructure platform to create and install a set of custom reef modules nicknamed “Cajun Coral.” The goal of this installation was to stabilize 750 feet of a newly completed marsh creation project. With the help of Danos, 180 feet of the custom-designed Cajun Coral was installed along with 620 feet of ultralight oyster stakes.

Learn more about the world’s first Cajun Coral installation and see how the oil and gas industry is incorporating innovative solutions to protect Louisiana’s coastal communities: Grow Louisiana Coalition Website


February 19, 2021

Infrastructure Success at Golden Meadow

A first of its kind, technology-driven, adaptive approach to shoreline and habitat protection is successfully validated in the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta.

In the latest efforts of a long successful partnership, ConocoPhillips and Ducks Unlimited have implemented an innovative, technology-led, and nature-based approach to bolstering shoreline resilience in the communities of southern Lafourche Parish. Over the past eight years, ConocoPhillips and Ducks Unlimited have restored or enhanced over 800 acres immediately outside of the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection System. This work provides shoreline protection, marsh enhancement, and terracing that increase the resilience of the levee system and the communities within. The goal of this particular project was to stabilize 750 feet of a newly completed marsh creation project. This area is exposed to increasing storm surges and weather events such as the set of storms hitting the Louisiana coast this year as well as erosion from day-to-day tidal action.

The project site presented numerous challenges including shallow water access, weak foundation soils, and the necessity to operate safely around established energy infrastructure. Natrx utilized its intelligent, adaptive infrastructure platform to create and install a set of custom reef modules nicknamed “Cajun Coral” by Louisiana-based Danos LLC, a key contractor on the project. "Danos is proud to have partnered on this innovative project to prevent erosion and strengthen our local wetlands. 'Cajun Coral' was born out of our team's desire to develop a name for the reef modules that reflected our local, South Louisiana culture," said Eric Danos, owner of Danos. 

3D Printed “Cajun Coral” Modules

Natrx Oyster Stakes

These modules were specifically designed to provide habitat-positive protection for the exposed segment of the site. Less exposed reaches were stabilized with a system of ultralight, hand-deployed oyster stakes which will develop into a robust oyster reef over time. This innovative approach creates a cost efficient, weather resilient, and habitat-friendly oyster reef shoreline protection system.

In the end, 180 feet of the custom-designed “Cajun Coral” was installed along with 620 feet of ultralight oyster stakes.  Thanks to the partnership’s modular, intelligence-driven production, delivery, and installation approach the entire protection solution exceeded safety targets by deploying with zero safety incidents. Immediately after installation, the project’s innovative approach proved successful by performing perfectly during a direct hit by Hurricane Zeta. A post storm assessment revealed new oyster spat growing on both the Cajun Coral and the oyster stakes.

ConocoPhillips and Ducks Unlimited are proud of their partnership that demonstrates how the latest innovations can be harnessed to enhance efficiency, reduce cost, and improve performance through micro-tailored solutions. The continued success of this fruitful partnership is in large part due to the contributions of several like minded organizations including: Lafourche Parish, Natrx, ORA Estuaries, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Danos LLC, MREC Environmental, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.



About Natrx

Natrix is the leader in delivering adaptive infrastructure solutions for the protection of at-risk capital assets through its patented digital manufacturing platform. The Natrx platform uses an intelligent, data-driven approach to create and deploy custom, flexible resilience solutions that adapt over time to provide superior, habitat-friendly protection against increasing weather and climate conditions. Established in 2018, Natrx has quickly established itself as an innovation leader, recognized for its technology breakthroughs and its track record of successful project delivery. For more information, visit:


About Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit


About ConocoPhillips

As the largest private owner of wetlands in Louisiana, ConocoPhillips views conservation as a key priority. ConocoPhillips’ history as a landowner in Louisiana dates back more than 100 years. Through its subsidiary, The  Louisiana Land and Exploration Company LLC (LL&E), the company owns approximately 636,000 acres of predominantly marshland across eight parishes, spanning 120 miles east to west and 85 miles north to south.


About Danos

Founded in 1947, Danos is a family-owned and managed oilfield service provider. A trusted industry partner, Danos offers the most responsive end-to-end integrated service solutions – safe, on time and on budget. Danos achieves world-class safety results and customer loyalty due to a values- based approach and an unyielding commitment to employee engagement and training. Learn more at

June 10, 2020

Bringing Coastal Resilience Innovation to Hampton Roads

Originally written by CINNAMON JANZER for

Natrx employee Mary Nelson. Natrx recently became part of the RISE Resilience Innovations incubator's Coastal Community Resilience Challenge 2020 cohort. The companies will test and scale up their coastal resilience solutions in Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo courtesy Natrx)

On April 13, in the middle of a pandemic, a storm with wind gusts up to 75 mph ravaged the Hampton Roads coastal region of Virginia. From downed trees to lost power, damage abounded. As sea levels rise, storm surges are slated to get worse.

The RISE Resilience Innovations accelerator in Norfolk is dedicated to ensuring that the region is prepared for a resilient future.

In 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia was one of 13 states and cities that received grant funding from HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition to battle sea level rise along its Hampton Roads region. Since 1930, the sea level has risen by 14 inches in the area, worsening tidal flooding and increasing storm flooding and surges. “This increased risk is already being realized in communities across Virginia’s coast,” the HUD award summary reads. “Seven of the region’s 10 most severe storms, including Hurricane Irene, have occurred in the past 13 years.”

Part of that money was used to realize an idea that Katerina Oskarsson, then working in Norfolk’s resilience office, had been dreaming up with co-workers and collaborators for some time: a coastal resilience laboratory and accelerator. Once funding came through, Oskarsson left her work with the city to launch the accelerator as its own non-profit. Today, that resilience accelerator has a name, RISE Resilience Innovations, which recently announced the second round of winners (the first was in 2018) of its Coastal Community Resilience Challenge.

Today, Oskarsson serves as RISE’s chief strategy officer. “The idea was that, of course climate change and sea level rise is going to be an increasingly big and expensive issue here,” Oskarsson says of the region that is home to the largest naval base in the world. “We figure that a lot of Hampton Road communities will be spending a lot of money to adapt to sea level rise and flooding.” While infrastructure projects can help mitigate the impacts of sea level rise, not all cities, especially smaller ones, can afford large-scale solutions nor can they wait for the time it takes for them to be completed.

That’s why RISE is focusing on accelerating small businesses that offer less expensive solutions that can be tested and implemented in the Hampton Roads region through its Coastal Community Resilience Challenge.The 2020 cohort is composed of five companies from across the country with piloted products ready to be scaled up.

Natrx, one of the 2020 cohort of winners, uses specialized 3D printers to craft custom “exo-structures” from materials like biopolymers, natural material that is either produced organically by living organisms or synthetically from renewable resources. Natrx produces these structures in conjunction with local ecologists and engineers and installs them along waterfronts to preserve infrastructure by mitigating erosion while also providing a habitat for natural growth.

“The void spaces are just as important as the physical spaces,” Leonard Nelson, a Natrx co-founder, says. “In a situation where there are certain species like sea turtles who need to [lay eggs] on land, if you put up a seawall, you’ve blocked their ability to thrive.”

Jeffrey Nelson and Jackson O'Korn of Natrx (Photo courtesy Natrx)

Natrx was founded at the end of 2018, making the company an ideal candidate for RISE’s program. “We’re at the state where we ramped up our progress. We have a viable business and what we want to do is scale it up to produce at the point of need,” Nelson says. Natrx will be using its RISE funding to fabricate their first mobile production unit, a 3-D printer that can travel to project locations and print structures where they’ll be used. In addition to eliminating the costs and hassles of shipping, this process will ideally lead to job opportunities for local contractors as well.

The other four members of the 2020 RISE cohort include Re:Public, which helps non-mapping professionals track real-time flood risks; StormSensor, which builds stormwater monitoring products; Virginia PACE Authority, which offers a financing solution to provide capital related to flood mitigation and other resilience improvements; and WeatherCheck, which uses AI to monitor properties for weather-related damage and loss in order to both speed up the claims process and improve the future of risk analysis.

RISE doesn’t look to fund ideas. Rather it helps bring solutions that have already been piloted to a wider market by providing revenue-based funding, business mentorship, and access to data, experts, and demo sites along the Hampton Roads coast.

“We’re not an incubator, we’re an economic development organization. We broker the problems and solutions with funding,” RISE executive director Paul Robinson says. “What we’ve been building here is a way to identify resilience problems and see if there is a market for [solutions] here and elsewhere. We pick [challenge winners] based on economic viability.” With RISE funding, companies only repay their loans when they begin to see revenue. (The 2018 cohort was actually only announced in spring 2019, so those companies are still working on scaling up, as well.)

A benefit of locating the accelerator in Norfolk and infusing the region with companies testing and growing their resilience-based products is economic diversification for the city. While RISE doesn’t require winners to permanently relocate their business to Hampton Roads, during “normal times” the teams naturally spend quite a bit of time at RISE’s co-working and workshop space, with some choosing to relocate to or open new space in the region. That’s good for the city’s economic base, Robinson says.

“Historically we’ve been really reliant on government dollars from the DOD,” Robinson says. “We need to grow and diversify the economy. Why not, instead of putting money into walls or storm drains, we put some towards developing intellectual capital and innovation around resilient coastal communities?”

In thinking about the future, Robinson says that RISE’s goals are to keep sourcing solutions to big problems and adding another five companies to the accelerator this summer through their Urban Mobility Challenge that focuses on apps that offer real-time flooding solutions.

“We want [Hampton Roads] to be a community that people want to belong to,” he says, “where innovation and resilience happens and starts to grow organically.”

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