Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - County Creates Two New Artificial ReefsSt. Lucie County has two new artificial reefs after deploying more than 2,000 tons of concrete materials in roughly 60 feet of water earlier this summer.
Deployed by McCulley Marine Services, the two new artificial reefs range in depths of 40 – 60 feet with a 20-foot profile. The reefs consist of different concrete structures including culverts, light poles and concrete slabs. Funding for these new reefs came from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant and the St. Lucie County Erosion District.
The preliminary GPS numbers for these sites are:
- 27*32.272'N / 80*10.769'W – 1,000 tons mixed concrete materials
- 27*31.632'N / 80*10.371'W – 1,000 tons mixed concrete materials
A newly released 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. The University of Florida and Florida Sea Grant study looked at money generated by artificial reefs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in 2009. 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 thousands of tons of concrete from the landfill, while at the same time creating underwater habitats for marine life, fishermen and divers to enjoy. Reports from divers indicate that the reefs are providing habitat for adult snapper and grouper, snook, sharks and other fishes as well as baitfish and juvenile fishes.
The St. Lucie County Artificial Reef Program is planning the deployment of two new 1,000-ton artificial reefs at depths of 100 feet and 150 feet with a grant by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Another 100-foot barge has been offered to the program and is hoped to be deployed with the 150-foot reef. Please contact Jim Oppenborn with fundraising ideas for the deployment of this barge.
For more information about St. Lucie County's Artificial Reef Program visit:www.stlucieco.gov/public_works/reefs.htm or contact St. Lucie County Marine Resource Coordinator Jim Oppenborn at 772-462-1713 or email@example.com.