The State of Texas moves to allow private citizens to build artificial reefs in near shore waters. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted the new rules to so there is a framework to govern public reefing in Texas waters. Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports.
Parks and Wildlife is already building artificial reefs and this effort is to encourage private citizens to get involved. Dale Shively is the co-coordinator of the project.
“The program is set up so that members of the public or organizations could bring their materials for approval to us. We would certify that the materials are suitable for a particular reef site and they would reef those on sites that have already been permitted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.”
The reef sites will be located is state waters less than 60-feet deep and near navigable Gulf passes. The sites must have a bottom that will prevent the reef material from sinking into the Gulf floor. Each site will be about 160 acres in size with a 10-foot yellow spar buoy chained to an anchor in the center of the site.
Shively says Parks and Wildlife expects fabricated concrete or pieces of concrete to be the most common items for the reefs. He says the concrete would have to certify as clean.
“Which means they do contain any kind of hazard and are going to stay on the ocean bottom and not move during a storm event. They need to be of significant size so that they provide some habitat for marine life.”
That is the purpose for the reefs to attract marine life and be destinations for fishermen, divers and others.
“The idea is that out of each of the major port areas a small boater should be able to travel out and within a few miles or so they should be able to be on one of these reef sites, and a 160 acres reef site is fairly large.”
Dale Shively says after potential reefing material, concrete or otherwise, is inspected it will be assigned to a specific reefing site. He says almost immediately marine life starts to congregate around the reef and within six months to a year a viable, reproducing community will inhabit the site. Texas Parks and Wildlife has information on appropriate reefing materials and will list all the sites in Texas waters.
“The reef sites will be marked by a buoy and the center co-ordinates for that reef site will posted in our website.”
You’ll find a link to the website at kuhf.org.