Chapter: South Palm Beach
Contact: Scott Harris, J.D. Dickenson
Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, recently got a boost with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water in August 2015. The CCA Building Conservation Trust contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which utilized innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem. The site for the project off Jupiter is currently flat, featureless sand plains near the existing Zion Train, Miss Jenny and ESSO Bonaire “Wreck Trek.” The new reef cells rise up to eight feet off the sea floor and create interconnected cavities and surfaces exposed to sunlight and water current. The structures are designed to provide a specific habitat environment favored by a wide range of marine organisms so that where there is now only flat sand, a flourishing ecosystem will develop.
The new reef site is expected to positively impact local economies by enticing anglers and divers who utilize local boat charters, hotels, restaurants and other amenities. According to Alan Richardson, chairman of the Organization for Artificial Reefs based in Tallahassee, Florida, for every dollar spent locally on an artificial reef, $138 comes back into local communities. In addition to the Building Conservation Trust, the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation is partnering on the $78,000 project with Palm Beach County, the Town of Jupiter, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, REEF CELLS and Jupiter Dive Center.