His­toric Ar­ti­fi­cial-reef De­ploy­ment

Saltwater Sportsman - - Tod / Casts + Blasts -

A mas­sive ar­ti­fi­cial reef re­cently placed off Florida’s east coast in Au­gust is ex­pected to pro­vide much­needed habi­tat for marine species and sup­ple­ment the func­tion of nat­u­ral reefs in the re­gion.

The An­drew “Red” Har­ris Foun­da­tion de­ployed 134, 4-ton ar­ti­fi­cial reef modules and 1,000 tons of boul­ders 1½ miles off­shore of Jupiter In­let, the largest ever by a pri­vate foun­da­tion on Florida’s east coast.

The sheer size of the new ar­ti­fi­cial reef is im­pres­sive, but it’s the de­sign of the modules, which mimic nat­u­ral reefs, that makes it unique. Reef modules also cause scour­ing along the ocean floor, which ex­poses bedrock and aids in the re­cruit­ment of al­gae, soft corals and sponges.

The $500,000 project was partly funded by a joint ven­ture be­tween En­gel Cool­ers and coun­try mu­sic star Kenny Ch­es­ney’s No Shoes Na­tion, which do­nates a por­tion of its sales to build­ing ar­ti­fi­cial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, the At­lantic Ocean, and sur­round­ing rivers and wa­ter­ways.

“We are very thank­ful to En­gel Cool­ers for its fundrais­ing and its ef­forts to gain im­por­tant me­dia ex­po­sure for our work,” said Scott Har­ris, pres­i­dent of the An­drew “Red” Har­ris Foun­da­tion. “To­gether, we can make a dif­fer­ence in the fu­ture of our marine en­vi­ron­ment. But the time to act is now, so we hope more folks will get in­volved via financial support or do­nat­ing their skills to im­ple­ment so­lu­tions to help our marine habi­tats adapt to cli­mate change.”

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