The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association continues to set the standard for the building and deployment of reefs in the state of Florida.
Last week, the volunteer organization received a $60,000 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to supply federal aid in sport fish restoration.
The MBARA will supply a local match expenditure of $25,000 for a total of $85,000.
The money will be used toward the building and deployment of at least 45 concrete and limestone modules totaling 112 tons of inhabitable reefs.
“We have an outstanding rapport with the FWC,” said MBARA President Bob Cox. “We’re very successful (with the grant) each year.”
For 10 years the MBARA and the FWC have worked closely and shared information to better understand the sea life that inhabits the waters of the Gulf.
Cox described the relationship with the FWC as symbiotic, and said that in return for its support, the MBARA provides photos, research and valuable reef monitoring information.
At the 2010 artificial reef summit held in Cocoa Beach, the MBARA was recognized for being one of the most active reef organizations in the state of the Florida.
“We’re active, engaged, we care and we help,” said Cox.
Cox said that current plans were to begin building the 45 reefs by April of next year and have them in the water by August.
In May, the MBARA received a grant from Duke Energy and are currently pursuing opportunities from the Fish America Foundation, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and the RESTORE act.