Friday, May 4, 2012 - St. Lucie County Creates Two New Artificial ReefsSt. Lucie County has two new artificial reefs after deploying more than 2,000 tons of concrete materials. 1,000 tons of materials were deployed in 150 feet of water 200 yards north of the Tug Lesley Lee while another 1,000 tons of materials were deployed in roughly 110 feet of water earlier this April.
Deployed by McCulley Marine Services and SeaRover Services, the two new artificial reefs have maximum profiles of 10-15 feet. The reefs consist of different concrete and steel structures including culverts, light poles, concrete slabs and steel safes. Funding for these new reefs came from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant and the St. Lucie County Erosion District.
Preliminary GPS locations for the two new St. Lucie County artificial reefs are
- Site A - N 27° 24.228 & W 80° 01.096’ – max depth: 153 feet
- Site B - N 27° 23.892’ & W 80° 02.531’ – maximum depth: 111 feet
Artificial reefs at similar depths have supported gag, Goliath grouper, red snapper, scamp and snook.
A study by the University of Florida shows that artificial reefs attract more than just marine life. After studying six southwest Florida counties’ artificial reef programs, researchers were able to show that the reefs reeled in more than $253 million into the region during one year. While it only costs a saltwater fishing license to use the submerged structures as a fishing spot, anglers spend money on food, lodging, fuel, tackle and other necessities. Researchers found that $136 million came from residents, while $117 million was spent by visitors.
Since its reinstatement in 2005, St. Lucie County's Artificial Reef Program has spared more than 16,000 thousand tons of clean concrete from the landfill, while at the same time creating nearly 50 underwater habitats for marine life, fishermen and divers to enjoy. Reports from divers indicate that the reefs are providing habitat for more than 100 species of fish, including adult snapper and grouper, snook, sharks and other fishes as well as baitfish and juvenile fishes.
For more information about St. Lucie County's artificial reef program visit: http://www.stlucieco.gov/mosquito/reefs.htm or contact St. Lucie County Marine Resource Coordinator Jim Oppenborn at 772-462-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org.