DEP DEPLOYS FERRYBOAT ON ARTIFICIAL
New Program Provides Reef Materials as Part of Governor's "Coast
(05/106) CAPE MAY --The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) today deployed a decommissioned
ferryboat on the state's Cape May artificial reef site. The deployment
will help to improve New Jersey's artificial reefs and is part
of the commitment made by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey's "Coast
Photo captions: The ferryboat "Elizabeth" just
before and during its deployment as an artificial reef
in Cape May. Click on each image for a larger version
of the photo.
"The Jersey Shore is one of our greatest natural resources
and most important economic engines," Governor Codey said.
"Today's artificial reef deployment improves coastal resources
while keeping the shore a quality part of the Jersey experience
for future generations."
"Our artificial reef program provides tremendous benefits
to fishermen, divers, and our shore economy, while also providing
new marine habitat" said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.
"New Jersey is a national leader in artificial reef management
and we remain committed to enhancing these reef sites for the
dual benefit of our environment and economy."
The ferryboat, known as the "Elizabeth," was located
in the Philadelphia harbor prior to its deployment and has been
decommissioned for sometime, previously having been used as a
restaurant. The vessel will be 36 feet tall underwater, as DEP's
preparations included the removal of its pilothouses, 60 feet
wide and 220 feet long. It will provide two long, open corridors
that should attract both fish and divers.
DEP acquired the ferryboat through a $100,000 appropriation for
deployment of three vessels on artificial reef sites. Earlier
this year, the state sank a decommissioned navy tanker, dubbed
the "Helis" after the beluga whale that had recently
been spotted in the Delaware River, on the Garden State North
artificial reef site. The state will deploy the remaining vessel
later this year. DEP is placing the three ships at reefs along
the entire Jersey coast so that as many residents as possible
can enjoy the benefits of these new acquisitions.
Artificial reefs play an important role in supporting New Jersey's
marine fishing and diving industries, whose activities on the
reefs alone generate more than $50 million and overall provide
more than $850 million to New Jersey's economy. In one study,
DEP determined that one out of every five fish caught by recreational
anglers in New Jersey's marine waters during 2000 was caught on
a reef site.
Earlier this year, Governor Codey announced his "Coast 2005"
initiative, which includes a variety of programs designed to enhance
coastal water quality and improve coastal ecosystems. Aside from
the reef building program, the initiative includes new standards
for maintenance and inspection of sewer systems to help prevent
spills from polluting New Jersey's waters; $30 million in grant
funding to assist municipalities in developing storm water management
plans; and strengthening coastal zone restrictions for offshore
oil and gas development.
The DEP initiated its ocean reef building program in 1984, establishing
over time a network of 14 reef sites from Sandy Hook to Cape
May that encompass a total of 25 square miles of sea floor. The
state has made more than 3,500 deployments of various reef materials
- more than any other state in the country - including ships
and barges, massive undersea ridges from six million tons of
rock, and thousands of fabricated concrete reef units.
Artificial reefs can provide important habitat for many of New
Jersey's marine species, with up to 200 species of fish and invertebrates
known to colonize our reefs. Reefs also have 800 to 1,000 times
more biomass than open ocean and can form important nurseries
for juvenile fish.
In October 2004, DEP issued for public comment the most recent
draft of its Artificial Reef Management Plan that covers all
aspects of the multi-faceted program, including its objectives,
history, benefits, site selection and other considerations. The
new plan 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.
The 4.5-square mile Cape May Reef Site where today's deployment
occurred is approximately 8.5 miles offshore from Cape May and
is comprised of more than 75,000 cubic yards of vessels, tanks,
tire units, specially-designed "reef balls" and other
materials. In 2003, it was one of five artificial reefs where
New Jersey deployed 250 decommissioned New York City subway cars.
Sinking of the vessel consisted of cutting a single hole in the
ferry's one watertight compartment. Prior to deploying the ferryboat
at the reef site, DEP supervised cleaning of the tanker to remove
all greases, floatables and other materials that might be harmful
to the marine environment. The U.S. Coast Guard inspected the
cleanup of the ship prior to allowing DEP to transport it to the
This vessel is the 135th ship to be sunk on New Jersey's artificial
For more information on New Jersey’s artificial reef program
visit the DEP website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/artreef.htm.
For more information about the Governor's "Coast 2005"
initiative, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/cmp/czm_zone.html.