Last week, Bob Cox, president of the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association received a check from Duke Energy Foundation Community Relations Specialist Bobby Pickels.
The $15,000 will aid the MBARA in the construction of new reefs currently set to be deployed in April of 2015.
“The Duke Energy Foundation supports the MBARA’s mission of putting additional reefs in the water and maintaining the ones that are there,” said Pickels. “We have confidence in the organization and see these reefs as good for the community and the fish population.”
The grant, approved last month, will be used in tandem with an annual grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to launch a $100,000 project as well as bolster the MBARA’s memorial reef program.
The memorial reefs are structures that have a plaque affixed to commemorate those who have passed. Ashes of the deceased are often built into the structure.
The John Thompson memorial reef, which sits in the Bell Shoals site, is a popular fishing location.
“We’re seeing more interest in the memorial reef program,” said Cox. “It’s a lower cost option and a green alternative.”
Cox said that the advantage of tackling a project with a $100,000 price tag is that it allows the MBARA to bring the cost per unit down significantly. By combining funds, the MBARA is able to launch more reefs once or twice a year and the process is more cost-effective than doing small or individual deployments.
Pickels said that the reefs continue to provide the area an opportunity to have access to more fish of various species and in greater numbers.
“It’s an opportunity to do some good by the environment,” said Pickels. “We enjoy funding the MBARA. Not only is environmentally conscious, but it helps the local economy, too.”