The reef will be located 1,500 feet offshore in less than 20 feet of water off Washingtonia Park. It will be comprised of more than 4,000 individual concrete blocks and limestone rocks specifically designed for the project. The units are 3-feet tall and will partially settle into the sea floor, leaving the limestone rocks on top of the blocks exposed to sea life. The $15 million reef project will encourage the colonization of corals, tropical fish and other marine life in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. The deployment phase of the project began in August and should be completed in November.
The new reef is a mitigation project related to the the 2016 beach renourishment effort that placed sand along the beach in Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Fort Lauderdale to restore a shoreline that had eroded due to storms, hurricanes, natural erosion and sea-level rise. Since beach renourishment projects always cause some harm to the nearby reefs, mitigation reefs -- such as the one now being deployed off the Town - are built to create new underwater habitat.
The barge has become a familiar site to beachfront condo owners and beachgoers. To see a video about the reef project, please go to this You Tube link.
The reef project is discussed in the second segment of the 12-minute program.
The barge is moving north from Washingtonia Park as its deploys the modules. The barge can hold up to 300 modules at a time.
Broward County's Artificial Reef Program has created more 150 artificial reefs since 1982 by sinking old ships, tugboats and limestone boulders. These are usually done to add more recreational diving sites for divers. Some of the wrecks sunk in deeper water (200 feet or more) create additional fishing spots for anglers.
The mitigation reef being built off the Town is not meant for divers or anglers. It's being created to enhance the marine environment.
Broward County has contracted with Resolve Equipment, Inc., a Fort Lauderdale firm, to build the reef.
Photos provided by Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division.