DEP ACQUIRES 250 SUBWAY
CARS FOR ARTIFICIAL REEF PROGRAM
The cars will be deposited offshore at five sites
to create fish habitat
(03/45) TRENTON -- New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell announced today the state is acquiring 250 obsolete
New York subway cars for placement on five offshore artificial
New York City Transit will pay all costs
associated with cleaning the cars and deploying them at
reef sites off all four coastal counties.
"These subway cars will provide habitat
for as many as 200 species of fish and invertebrates,"
Commissioner Campbell said. "Not only will the fish
benefit, but so will New Jersey's economy -by creating more
fishing and diving opportunities along our shores."
Marine expeditions by anglers and scuba
divers already contribute almost $25 million per year to
the state's economy, the commissioner noted. Artificial
reefs form important nurseries for juvenile fish and have
800 to 1,000 times more biomass than the open ocean, he
The DEP will deposit the subway cars in
groups of 50 at each of five artificial reef sites - Cape
May and Deep Water reefs (off Cape May County), Atlantic
City reef (off Atlantic County), Garden State North reef
(off Ocean County), and Shark River reef (off Monmouth County).
The cars, known as Redbirds, have transported
millions of commuters on New York City Transit's IRT lines
for the past 40 years.
The commissioner today also signed a policy
directive to revise the state's artificial reef policy,
setting clear goals for what the program should accomplish
and establishing a robust standard for the durability of
future materials to be used on artificial reefs. Currently
there is no uniform national standard for the durability
of reef materials.
"New Jersey is establishing itself
as a national leader in artificial reef policy by developing
comprehensive materials standards and fisheries goals,"
Campbell said. "This will provide the public with assurance
that our reefs will not be ocean dumping grounds."
The directive implements an eight-year
moratorium on offshore placement of additional subway cars
so the DEP can ascertain the durability of the cars and
their effect on marine life. The monitoring program will
conclude with a report to the commissioner. The report will
be drafted by an independent Technical Reef Advisory Committee,
to be comprised of reef scientists, fisheries experts, federal
and state officials and academia.
During the moratorium, the DEP will continue
to deploy traditional, dense artificial reef materials,
including ships, barges, cast concrete, dredged rock, structural
steel at least a quarter-inch thick, and manufactured reef
materials made of concrete or steel.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority's New
York City Transit plans to deploy the subway cars at New
Jersey's reef site by this autumn.
Since the beginning of 2001, New York City
Transit has made available 1,300 subway cars for use in
artificial reef programs. New Jersey joins Delaware, South
Carolina and Georgia in obtaining cars for their artificial
New Jersey previously deployed five Philadelphia
SEPTA subway cars at the Sea Girt reef site in 1990.