DEP OFFERS ARTIFICIAL REEF PLAN UPDATE FOR PUBLIC
(04/119) Trenton -- The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released a copy
of the update to its “Artificial Reef Management Plan
for New Jersey” for public comment. The Plan has helped
to guide New Jersey’s extensive reef building efforts
at 14 artificial reef locations for more than 17 years.
"New Jersey is now a national leader in artificial
reef development and this plan will strengthen our reef
program through appropriate standards and fisheries goals,"
said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Artificial
reefs are an environmental and economic boon for New Jersey.
New fishing and diving opportunities enhance our shore economy,
while our marine ecosystems gain new habitat."
The new draft of the Plan covers all aspects of the multi-faceted
program, including its objectives, history, benefits, site
selection and other considerations. It also establishes
a protective standard for the stability, durability and
effectiveness of various materials used in reef construction.
Currently there is no uniform national standard for the
durability of reef materials.
Over the years, New Jersey has had tremendous success with
its artificial reef program. Past studies of artificial
reefs show that they may be colonized by up to 200 species
of fish and invertebrates. Reefs have 800 to 1,000 times
more biomass than open ocean. Artificial reefs can also
form important nurseries for juvenile fish.
In recent years, DEP added several ships and tugboats to
its reefs, as well as more unusual materials such as the
250 decommissioned New York City subway cars added at five
reef locations in the summer of 2003. DEP has formed an
independent committee to oversee a multi-year monitoring
program at the subway car sites that will study water quality,
fisheries and biota, and the durability of the reefs. The
results of this study will further help New Jersey refine
its artificial reef program.
The state currently has 14 artificial reef sites where
it periodically deploys new reef materials. These sites
include: Sandy Hook Reef, Sea Girt Reef, Shark River Reef,
Axel Carlson Reef (offshore from Mantoloking), Barnegat
Light Reef, Garden State North Reef (offshore from Harvey
Cedars), Garden South Reef (offshore from Spray Beach),
Little Egg Reef (offshore from Holgate), Atlantic City Reef,
Great Egg Reef (offshore from Atlantic City), Ocean City
Reef, Wildwood Reef, Deep Water Reef (offshore from Wildwood),
and Cape May Reef.
The DEP is accepting public comments on the draft for the
next 60 days. A copy of the update to the Plan is available
at the DEP website at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/reefplan04.htm.