Reef Development PlanAlabama’s Artificial Reef Plan: A proposal for engineered reef deployment and marine resource management.
Alabama is uniquely positioned to enhance the inshore, nearshore and offshore components of its existing reef network. A timely investment in this proven resource is a wise investment in the long-term ecological health and economic well-being of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. This plan proposes to establish bridges between the various habitat sites, thereby connecting habitats suitable for the early to adult life stages through the following components:
Learn about the 3 Reef Systems
- Inshore Reef Enhancement Plan
- Nearshore Reef Enhancement Plan
- Offshore Reef Enhancement Plan
Inshore reefs provide important habitat for oysters and numerous types of fish throughout their life cycle. Reefs in the waters of Mobile Bay, Weeks Bay, Pelican Bay, Point Clear, Alabama’s estuary system and the Mississippi Sound are included. Inshore reef enhancements will focus on:
- Deploying additional reefs to provide a refuge for juvenile fish
- Enhancing existing reef construction which have deteriorated
- Scientific research and monitoring
View Nearshore Reef Enhancement Plan
Nearshore reefs play an integral role in the ecological and economic productivity of Alabama’s artificial reef system, providing a transitional habitat for a variety of native fish species as they outgrow their inshore juvenile habitats and move offshore to their adult reef habitats. Nearshore reefs also provide a temporary home for certain species of fish during their annual migratory patterns. Nearshore reef enhancements will focus on:.
- Deployment of additional juvenile fish shelters to provide refuge from predators.
- Development of a snorkeling reef complex.
- Create additional nearshore reef areas 2-3 nautical miles offshore.
- Create additional reefs within the newly zoned waters up to 9 nautical miles off the coast.
View Offshore Reef Enhancement Plan
Alabama has five established offshore reef zones. Expansion and enhancement of these sites using state of the art reef materials is necessary in order to strengthen the connectivity between the zones and provide deeper water habitat to help support the long-term sustainability of the fish stock. Offshore reef enhancements will focus on:
- Utilize scanning technology to characterize the seabed.
- Deploying low-relief habitats on sandy substrates for increased juvenile habitats.
- Deploying exceptionally high-relief structures to diversify reef habitats.
- Deploying large ships for the development of recreational dive sites.
- Deploying 6’ pyramids within the planned reef zones six to nine nautical miles off the coast.
- Academic research to evaluate production rates of newly created artificial reef sites.