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MBARA deploys new reef modules

Bob and Carol Cox Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association
The Star

A recent Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day to deploy more artificial reefs off the coast of Mexico Beach.

Two new patch reefs were installed in the Crooked Island and Sherman Sites by Walter Marine and volunteers from the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA).

The patch reef in the Crooked Island Site consists of two 15-foot tall Super Reefs weighing 18 tons each, another Super Reef with an Ecosystem nested inside, and nine 8-foot tall pyramids called Florida Limestone Artificial Reefs.

The patch reef is 6.6 miles WSW from the Mexico Beach Canal and is 63 feet deep.

The reefs are in a perfect line running from east to west thanks to the precision GPS equipment utilized by Walter Marine.

The site is currently named MB-255 Unnamed Reef and can be renamed by anyone who wishes to sponsor it.

The second patch reef is in the Sherman Site 10.6 miles west of the Mexico Beach Canal in 78-feet of water.

It consists of three Super Reefs (two with Ecosystems nested inside) and eight pyramids.

This reef is also lined up perfectly running from west to east, making it easier for trolling anglers, and for divers to navigate.

This site is currently named MB-256 Unnamed Reef.

Reef coordinates can be found at www.MBARA.org by clicking on the “Local Reef Info” tab at the top of the page.

As soon as the first patch reef was completed, volunteer divers removed the 2-foot thick polypropylene ropes attached to the super reefs.

These ropes must be removed to reduce plastic pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, and to greatly reduce the number of snared hooks and fishing line making the reefs safer for turtles.

The reefs were planned and coordinated between the city of Mexico Beach and MBARA using $92,309.50 from State of Florida, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from Deepwater Horizon oil spill funds from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase III Early Restoration Plan, Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration plan.

A lot of planning and work goes into building these artificial reefs.

Sites and materials must be coordinated with numerous organizations, contracts must be bid, and placement reports must be completed after the reefs have been deployed.

In all actuality, the day spent on the water is only a small part of what it takes to build reefs.

MBARA would like to thank all the volunteers that made this possible.

If anyone would like to become involved in future planning and deployments, please contact MBARA at MexicoBeachReefs@gmail.com, or through our Facebook page (aka MBARAreefs).