Contact: Peyton Scheppe
CCA Florida assisted with the splash down of two new fishing reefs less than half a mile from the I-95 Bridge over the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville in 2014. The total cost of the project was $60,000 and the Jacksonville Chapter of CCA Florida raised 50 percent of the necessary funding. The Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat program, garnered support from country music star Kenny Chesney and Costa Sunglasses among others for donations for the remaining $30,000 to the project. Named the Coastal Conservation Association and George Holt Reefs, the man-made reefs were designed to promote quality of aquatic life. They were built through the support of Kenny Chesney’s ongoing partnership with Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and the CCA Building Conservation Trust. An east Tennessee songwriter/superstar, Chesney visited the completed reefs in June 2015.
Thirteen hundred tons of concrete were used to create the two reefs. In total, 18 barge loads were needed to carry the material to the two designated reef sites. Each reef measures 200 feet by 200 feet, and each was built in a two-week time frame to minimize disruption. The effort attracted widespread support including the City of Jacksonville, who embraced the idea and handled all the permitting requirements for the reefs. Among the volunteers working for the habitat enhancement is the former chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Kathy Barco.