Click to Home
CodeRED_FINAL_White.png

Artificial Reefs
Over 30 new artificial reefs, each comprised of 500 tons of concrete, are currently being deployed off Collier County. Chris baitfish
Since January 2015, the City of Naples, Collier County and Marco Island have been working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to place reefs at six different locations from 10 to 28 miles offshore. The first City of Naples reef was deployed on January 9, with a total of 11 now created at the two Naples reef sites, Wasmer Reef and the Foote Family Reef. Deployments are almost complete at the Naples and Collier County reef sites with Marco Island having completed over 60% of their deployments. A combination of grant money from BP’s Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund and private donations funded construction of the reefs.

Diver surveys must be completed prior to any reef deployment to verify that the area is suitable and contains no living hard bottom (soft or hard corals, sponges, and other marine life). Once materials are placed on the bottom of the Gulf and a reef is created, divers must again survey the site to verify reef dimensions, including the height of the reef to ensure it is not a navigational hazard. Water depths for the reef locations range from 40 to 75 feet.  These reefs are providing habitat for fish and other invertebrates as well as additional recreational opportunities for anglers and divers.  This project has generated considerable excitement and anticipation in the boater and charter community.  In fact, the two primary divers for the project, Chris D'Arco with Collier County and Katie Laakkonen with the City of Naples, were amazed at the amount of growth and life already established on the first reef when they revisited it three months after it was created.  Bright pink and green marine vegetation has colonized and is growing on the concrete pipes with schools of fish swirling around these structures forming the beginning of a vibrant marine ecosystem.  Some fish species observed soon after the creation of these reefs have been mangrove snapper, tomtates, lane snapper, goliath grouper, amberjack, round scad, threadfin herring, sheepshead, and pinfish.  It will be very interesting to monitor these reefs into the future to see the varying stages of recruitment of invertebrates, fish, and other marine life.     

STAGING AREA



Wasmer Reef Coordinates  (10 miles offshore)
 MAP OF REEF SITES

A- 26º 01.9656, -81º 58.5336
B- 26º 01.9392, -81º 58.5468
C- 26º 01.8534, -81º 58.4478
D- 26º 01.9812, -81º 58.5546
E- 26º 01.9098, -81º 58.6092
F- 26º 01.9068, -81º 58.5372

The Foote Family Reef Coordinates (17 miles offshore)

A- 26º 01.250, -82º 06.548
B- 26º 01.283, -82º 06.597
C- 26º 01.322, -82º 06.494
D- 26º 01.205, -82º 06.586
E- 26º 01.188, -82º 06.475
F- 26º 01.252, -82º 06.468 BENCHES - 26º 01.359, -82º 06.503
Click on map for larger image

For a complete listing of artificial reef locations, please visit Collier County's artificial reef website.


 

Cobia investigating new reef





3-month old reef


For more underwater videos, please visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmmP2s8qOZ9j6oYGvD-IRADo-uTig-f_h

Artificial Reef Documentary:
The documentary film, 'Paradise Reef', showcases the beauty of the Southwest Florida environment. The story, anchored by the Artificial Reef Project, will follow the flow of water; inland to the Gulf. It shows the symbiotic relationship of the Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico. Extensive underwater footage by Andy Casagrande, world-renown cinematographer, will show the amazing growth and abundant marine life on the artificial reefs as well as interviews of Clyde Butcher, iconic Everglades photographer, Dr. Heywood Matthews, professor of oceanography and experts from NOAA, Rookery Bay, and many more. 

Trailer:  https://vimeo.com/145743717

A lot of the underwater footage in the trailer is from our very own Environmental Specialist and Artificial Reef Project Manager, Katie Laakkonen!