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Artificial Reefs in Taylor County

Artificial Reefs in Taylor County

Artificial reefs play a key role in marine conservation, specially in Florida State and Taylor County. Recreational fishing and diving come together to support local economy around this marine ecosystem. Taylor County, located in the primarily undeveloped Big Bend of Florida, has some of Florida’s most untouched and beautiful marine, estuarine and freshwater resources.

Taylor County’s first artificial reef was deployed in 1965 (Steinhatchee Reef). The Buckeye reef and the Steinhatchee Fisheries Management Area (SFMA) are the two main artificial reefs in Taylor County. The sites contain scrap metal, culverts, concrete tubes, artificial reef modules and reef balls.

Concrete pipes at Buckeye Artificial Reef, Taylor County

Taylor County Artificial Reefs Facts

Some important facts about the Taylor County Artificial Reef program are:

  • Since 1990 the total investment in the Artificial Reef Program in Taylor County was $579,212 (88% State and 12% Local Funding), with 1,354 Ton of deployed material.
  • Funding Sources included: FWC, TCBOCC, TC Tourism Development Council, Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club, Sea Grant, DOT, Buckeye Technologies.
  • Currently 2 Permitted sites (SFMA for UF and Buckeye Reef for TCBOCC) valid until 2019 and 2020, respectively. Andre Reef and Steinhatchee Reef no longer permitted.
  • Average depth of Artificial Reefs is 35.15 ft (Range: 4 to 51 ft).
  • Artificial Reef sites located from 17.5 to 20.5 nautical miles away from shoreline.
  • In the last 5 years had been deployed 467 fish cubes, 120 Tetrahedrone style material, and 61 Tons of scrap metal and concrete culverts.
  • 2,550 ft2 of sea floor covered by Artificial Reefs in 2016 only.
The SFMA north zone holds the artificial reefs

NOAA nautical chart Tampa Bay to Cape San Blas, chart number 11407, 28th edition, 2002, with the perimeter and zones of the SFMA Reef site

Taylor County’s artificial reef program is spearheaded by two main citizen bodies: the Taylor County Artificial Reef Committee (Reef Committee) and the Taylor County Reef Research Team (TCRRT).

FWC support statewide artificial reef programs permitting and funding artificial reef deployments. If you need more information on this program contact the Taylor County Marine Extension Agent.

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