Artificial reefs encourage growth of spectacular new life and provide habitat for fish and inverts. Photo by James Wiseman
A large majority of the seafloor in Bay County is sandy, so the hard surfaces of the new artificial reefs will provide much needed breeding grounds for reef fish as well as a suitable substrate for corals, sponges, and other benthic life to grow.
The new artificial reefs will be constructed about 10 nautical miles from the entrance to St. Andrew Bay at a depth of about 88 feet. Each reef will be composed of four premanufactured concrete and steel pods arranged in grid pattern about 600 feet apart
Governments now recognize the high financial return of installing artificial reefs. Last year, a comprehensive Sea Grant Study found Southwest Florida counties reaped over $253 million in 2009 as a result of artificial reefs which were installed for minimal costs (read more about the study). FWC has allocated approximately $700,000 for the construction of artificial reefs in 2012, so expect more good news to come.
This is money well spent!
[via Panama City News Herald]