Apr 22, 2024 - News

Artificial reef program in Florida Keys to preserve fish habitat

Illustration of an emergency light with coral inside

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A new artificial reef program led by Monroe County that aims to preserve fish populations and resources in the Florida Keys' marine ecosystem is now underway, according to WLRN.

Why it matters: Though artificial reefs aren't new in Florida — the oldest dating back to 1945 — this is the first official county-led program focused on man-made marine habitat, the outlet reported.

The big picture: The project aims to serve as a "proof of method" that could lay the groundwork for future artificial reef projects, which have faced concerns including material failures and over-harvesting, per the outlet.

  • The first phase likely includes 37 concrete poles, each about 55 feet long.

By the numbers: A $10 million Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant is supporting the project.

  • Another $5 million was recently added, pending Gov. Ron DeSantis' approval.

What's next: The project is expected to run through 2028, but additional funding could extend it through 2029.

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