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Now browsing: Hometown News > Community > St. Lucie County

County uses retired utility poles to create artificial reefs
Rating: 3 / 5 (23 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Feb 15 - 07:16

For Hometown News

ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- St. Lucie County has two new artificial reefs after deploying more than 2,000 tons of concrete light poles that were donated by Florida Power & Light Company.

Deployed by McCulley Marine Services and SeaRover Services in late December, the two new artificial reefs have maximum profiles of 27 and 25 feet and are located several miles offshore in depths of 62 feet and 102 feet. The reefs consist primarily of 130 concrete power poles that were replaced by FPL just south of Easy Street in Port St. Lucie. Funding for these new reefs came from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant and the St. Lucie County Erosion District.

Preliminary GPS locations for the two new St. Lucie County artificial reefs are:

N 27 23.551 and W 80 02. 961' - max depth: 102 feet.

N 27 32.083' and W 80 11.433' - maximum depth: 62 feet.

Artificial reefs at similar depths have supported gag, Goliath grouper, red snapper, scamp and snook.

A study by the University of Florida shows that artificial reefs attract more than just marine life. After studying six southwest Florida counties' artificial reef programs, researchers were able to show that the reefs reeled in more than $253 million into the region during one year.

While it only costs a saltwater fishing license to use the submerged structures as a fishing spot, anglers spend money on food, lodging, fuel, tackle and other necessities. Researchers found that $136 million came from residents, while $117 million was spent by visitors.

Since its reinstatement in 2005, St. Lucie County's Artificial Reef Program has spared more than 18,000 thousand tons of clean concrete from the landfill, while at the same time creating nearly 50 underwater habitats for marine life, fishermen and divers to enjoy. Reports from divers indicate that the reefs are providing habitat for more than 100 species of fish, including adult snapper and grouper, snook, sharks and other fishes as well as baitfish and juvenile fishes.

For more information, visit: www.stlucieco.gov/mosquito/reefs.htm or call (772) 462-1713 or email oppenbornj@stlucieco.org.

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