Project participants from the CCA (Coastal Conservation Association), TISIRI, and Sadler Point Marina made a trip out to the permitted St. Johns River Reef locations today to further investigate the river bottom. Below are a few pictures from the days efforts.
Two 200' by 200' zones have been permitted for future artificial reef material placement just south of the Interstate 95 bridge. The CCA is spearheading this project and the hope is to create two modest sized artificial reefs (one at each permitted location) in the relatively near future. In an effort to better understand the environmental parameters of each location the TISIRI team decided to send out a diving team to get a first hand look at the river bottom. Joe Kistel and Ed Kalakauskis were the investigation divers while Larry Davis was on board for equipment, imagery, and data collection support.
The divers goals included probing the river bottom to get an idea of sediment density, collect samples of the sediment, and capture any imagery if at all possible. The divers soon learned that the underwater imagery goals were not possible as diving in the St Johns River is like diving in coffee (absolutely no visibility). Probing objectives and sediment collection however was achieved at each location. Although the divers could not see they could tell some differences at each location. Site 1 had a substrate of a stiff mud consistency while site 2 was more of a aggregate based bottom. In fact samples of aggregate were collected at site 2 with a variety of growth attached to the pieces.
The data and samples collected will be provided to Jacksonville University for further analysis but the divers first impressions are that each location could make for productive artificial reef locations.
A big thanks to Brooks Busey of Sadler Point Marina for providing the transportation to the reef site locations. Stayed tuned to the CCA and TISIRI to learn more about this awesome project as it progresses.