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Artificial Reef Modules on a Loaded Crane Barge

New Artificial Reefs for Bay County coming this Fall

Map of Artificial Reef Project

Bay County’s NRDA Phase II deployment will occur in Small Area Artificial Reef Sites (SAARS) E – L which are located 11 – 15 nautical miles (nm) southwest of St Andrew Bay Pass in Florida state waters. (Source ArcGIS mapping software).

By L. Scott Jackson UF/IFAS Extension Bay County and Florida Sea Grant | Special to The News Herald

Beginning later this month, new artificial reefs will be deployed in Bay County, with more scheduled through the end of 2020. Reefs will be deployed in 8 new permitted sites located 11 – 15 nautical miles (nm) southwest of the St Andrew Bay Pass istate waters

The new reefs are funded by 
Department of Interior’s Natural Resources Damages Assessment and Restoration Program also known as NRDA, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Florida NRDA funds are managed by stattrustees at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Commission (FWC). As part of the settlement, all funded artificial reef projects in Northwest Florida have requirements in order to be funded https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/artificial-reefs/nrda . 

Artificial Reef Requirements for this Funding

Artificial reef projects for this initial round of NRDA funding must be in state waters. Additionally, reef modules were prescribed by the trustees. Future artificial reef projects may have more flexibility on location and materials. This fall’s Bay County NRDA Phase II project will use three types of approved engineered concrete modules. These include 154 small pyramids which are 8 ft. tall and weigh about 10 tons. There are also 26 large pyramids which are 18 ft tall and weigh about 18 tonsFinally, 25 concrete disk reefs, weighing about 3 tons each will be used. In total, about 980 tons of engineered concrete artificial reef material will be placed in the permitted areas. This is similar tonnage we would see if we deployed multiple retired vessels. The site will offer variety of fishing and diving opportunities.

The different reef module types will support a diversity of marine life, including different fish species and sizes. Small baitfish and larger migratory fish begin to utilize new deployed artificial reefs almost immediately. Prized reef fish could be found as fishing season opens up next year. However, it takes about 3 to 5 years for artificial reefs to “grow” and reach full productivity. 

Crane barge loaded with Artificial Reef Modules

Early morning calm waters and a full load of artificial reef modules set the stage for a busy day. Bay County expects to receive 6 loads like this in the next few months beginning in October. (Photo by L. Scott Jackson).

 

Many partners worked on this project, including the Bay County Board of Commissioners which applied and received the funding. Additional logistical support for the deployment is being provided by the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association and UF/IFAS Extension Bay County. The local reef building community have supported this project from its inceptionEarly, these experienced voices have provided direction to location and helped meet and overcome project challenges along the way. Thanks, and congratulations to everyone!

To learn more about Bay County’s Artificial Reef Program and our NRDA deployments please visit https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/bay/sea-grant and click on “Bay County Artificial Reefs” in the webpage side bar. You can also contact Scott Jackson at LSJ@ufl.edu or 850-784-6105.  

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, Dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices. 

Quick Videos representing Deployment – 10-26-2020

Bay County NRDA Phase 2 Load 1 of 6 – Deployed Monday October 26, 2020

Lat  Lon  Type 
30 05.244  85 54.245  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.244  85 54.253  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.244  85 54.261  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.244  85 54.269  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.244  85 54.277  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.244  85 54.285  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.250  85 54.285  Super Reef with Disk 
30 05.250  85 54.277  Super Reef 
30 05.250  85 54.269  Super Reef with Disk 
30 05.250  85 54.261  Super Reef 
30 05.250  85 54.253  Super Reef with Disk 
30 05.250  85 54.245  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.245  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.253  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.261  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.269  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.277  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.256  85 54.285  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.425  85 54.252  Super Reef 
30 05.425  85 54.269  Super Reef with Disk 
30 05.425  85 54.260  Super Reef 
30 05.425  85 54.276  Super Reef 
30 05.425  85 54.284  Super Reef 
30 05.419  85 54.284  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.419  85 54.275  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.419  85 54.268  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.418  85 54.260  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.419  85 54.252  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.431  85 54.253  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.431  85 54.261  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.431  85 54.268  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.431  85 54.276  8′ Pyramid 
30 05.431  85 54.284  8′ Pyramid 

Bay County NRDA Phase 2 Load 2 of 6 – Deployed Sunday November 1, 2020

Lat Lon  Type
 30 05.034  85 54.172 Super Reef
 30 05.046  85 54.172 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.046  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.040  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.034  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.027  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.052  85 54.172 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.040  85 54.172 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.028  85 54.172 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.046  85 54.165 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.040  85 54.165 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.034  85 54.165 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.028  85 54.165 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.990  85 54.282 Super Reef
 30 04.990  85 54.266 Super Reef
 30 04.990  85 54.290 Super Reef with Disk
 30 04.990  85 54.274 Super Reef with Disk
 30 04.990  85 54.258 Super Reef with Disk
 30 04.990  85 54.250 Super Reef with Disk
 30 04.996  85 54.290 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.996  85 54.282 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.996  85 54.274 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.996  85 54.266 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.996  85 54.258 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.996  85 54.250 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.984  85 54.290 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.984  85 54.282 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.984  85 54.274 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.984  85 54.266 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.983  85 54.258 8′ Pyramid
 30 04.984  85 54.250 8′ Pyramid

Bay County NRDA Phase 2 Load 3 of 6 – Deployed Sunday November 15, 2020

Lat Lon Type
 30 06.583  85 59.504 Super Reef
 30 06.583  85 59.518 Super Reef with Disk
 30 06.590  85 59.525 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.590  85 59.518 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.590  85 59.511 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.590  85 59.504 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.583  85 59.525 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.583  85 59.511 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.576  85 59.525 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.576  85 59.518 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.576  85 59.511 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.576  85 59.504 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.419  85 59.690 Super Reef
 30 06.419  85 59.676 Super Reef with Disk
 30 06.425  85 59.697 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.425  85 59.690 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.425  85 59.683 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.425  85 59.676 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.419  85 59.697 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.419  85 59.683 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.413  85 59.697 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.413  85 59.688 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.413  85 59.683 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.413  85 59.676 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.200  85 57.018 Super Reef
 30 06.200  85 57.002 Super Reef
 30 06.200  85 56.970 Super Reef
 30 06.200  85 56.986 Super Reef with Disk
 30 06.206  85 57.026 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.207  85 57.018 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.206  85 57.010 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.206  85 57.002 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.207  85 56.994 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.207  85 56.986 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.206  85 56.978 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.206  85 56.970 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.200  85 57.026 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.200  85 57.010 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.200  85 56.994 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.200  85 56.978 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 57.026 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 57.018 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 57.010 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 57.002 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 56.994 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 56.986 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 56.977 8′ Pyramid
 30 06.194  85 56.970 8′ Pyramid

Bay County NRDA Phase 2 Load 4 of 6 – Deployed Monday, November 23, 2020

Links to News Stories about this deployment:

WMBB Channel 13 News (Click Here)

Panama City News Herald (Click Here)

Lat Lon Type
 30 05.094  85 54.125 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.125 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.094  85 54.117 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.117 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.101 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.094  85 54.109 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.094  85 54.093 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.109 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.093 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.094  85 54.085 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.094  85 54.101 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.106  85 54.085 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.100  85 54.085 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.100  85 54.093 Super Reef
 30 05.100  85 54.101 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.100  85 54.109 Super Reef
 30 05.100  85 54.117 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.320  85 54.172 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.314  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.100  85 54.125 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.326  85 54.179 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.320  85 54.179 Super Reef
 30 05.314  85 54.186 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.320  85 54.186 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.326  85 54.186 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.314  85 54.193 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.320  85 54.193 Super Reef with Disk
 30 05.326  85 54.193 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.314  85 54.200 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.320  85 54.200 8′ Pyramid
 30 05.326  85 54.200 8′ Pyramid

Bay County NRDA Phase 2 Load 5 of 6 – To be loaded Tuesday December 1, 2020  and then will await weather window to deploy (Last updated 11/25/2020)

Learn more about Bay County’s other Artificial Reefs

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