The construction phase for the first of six Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission–sponsored (FWC) artifical reef projects is now complete offshore of Mexico Beach. This approximately $1.37 million project was funded solely with Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Phase III Early Restoration funds.
“We want these reefs to increase and enhance the public’s recreational fishing, snorkeling and diving opportunities,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley.
A total of 471 prefabricated concrete artificial reef modules were deployed in three artificial reef permitted areas offshore of Mexico Beach. There are four different types of modules, all in Gulf of Mexico state waters at depths of 20 to 80 feet.
These reefs are part of the Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration project, which involves coordinating with participating local coastal governments to construct and deploy prefabricated artificial reef modules in state waters at different depths within 48 permitted locations across northwest Florida. The remaining artificial reefs, which will be deployed in permitted areas within state waters of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties, are in varying stages of execution with placement anticipated for completion by mid-2018.
In April 2011, one year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion toward Early Restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council has approved five Early Restoration plans, encompassing 65 restoration projects at an estimated cost of $866 million, with approximately $163 million of those funds for projects being implemented in Florida.
To find out more about these restoration projects in Florida, including the Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration project, go to GulfSpillRestoration.NOAA.gov and scroll over “Restoration Areas” at the top bar and select “Florida.”