MBARA super reefs a go


Having received a supplemental grant from the FWC, the MBARA will deploy six super reefs in April. The larger reefs will attract fish that hunt in higher parts of the water column.

Special to The Star
Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 09:23 AM.

On Dec. 22 the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association was awarded $120,000 in supplemental grant funds from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to launch the organization’s planned super reef project.

MBARA will supply $55,000 for a project total of $175,000 that will allow the organization to construct and deploy 18 super reefs, constructed by Walter Marine, in Orange Beach, AL.

“We will be using 55 steel-reinforced concrete structures with chunks of Florida limestone embedded to promote natural marine growth on the hard substrates of the structures,” said MBARA President Bob Cox. “These structures will be of four different designs ranging from 6-25 feet tall and weighing 4,000 to 36,000 pounds each.”

The coarse, porous limestone surface is made of shell fragments and makes it easy for marine animals to attach.

At the top of each reef, 10 feet of exposed rebar will attract fish that hunt in high levels of the water, leading to a more active ecosystem.

In the past, the organization has focused on limestone and grouper reefs, but the super reefs will combine both in one structure.

The reefs will be built in the Bell Shoals, Bridge Rubble, Bridge Span, North, and South artificial reef permit sites that range from 2.5 to 18.3 nautical miles from the Mexico Beach Canal.

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