FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Creating North Florida’s First Near Shore Reef
Jacksonville, Fla. (September 15, 2011) - Just offshore the counties of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, and Flagler exists elaborate underwater worlds home to countless amounts of marine life. These areas are generally referred to as reefs but interestingly enough the natural landscape of our area consists very little of natural reef systems. The sea floor topography off North East Florida is very flat and sandy, unlike the Florida Keys where coral reefs are naturally abundant. Our offshore landscape does have areas that we call live bottom which is usually hard-porous sea floor or rock ledge formations. These natural structures do produce reef ecosystems with a great diversity of sea life but they are few and far between.
What our area does have are man-made reefs commonly referred to artificial reefs. These ecosystems are created by placing appropriate prepared materials at selected offshore locations. Over time the surface area of the material becomes home to encrusting organisms which turn around and provide shelter and food for animals of all levels of the food chain. These created reefs become highly utilized destinations and are depended on by fishermen, scuba divers, marine life enthusiast, and tourist. The resulting use of created reefs directly benefits local industries and thus the economy.
Most of these marine habitats exist within 8 to 25 miles of our coastline at water depths of 50 through 100 feet. TISIRI is proposing to build a reef much closer to the shoreline and create North East Florida’s first near shore reef destination.
A near shore reef creates all the benefits of a traditional offshore reef but offers additional perks. Some of which include:
-ease of access: closer distance to travel, beach access
-allows fishermen to harvest fish they are currently restricted from harvesting further offshore
-aides in the prevention of beach erosion and could eliminate future dredging needs
-creates the opportunity to produce a much needed favorable surf break
The created destination will benefit the environment while attracting a variety of user groups. The ease of accessibility will encourage visitation and creates a venue for hosting events such as fishing tournaments, surfing competitions, and snorkeling/diving activities.
TISIRI is currently looking for the best location to create this reef and considering project partners. Contact TISIRI at www.TISIRI.org for more information.
Editors Note: Contact Joe Kistel directly at (904) 394-2938