DEPLOYS DECOMMISSIONED SUBWAY CARS IN ARTIFICIAL REEFS
First 50 of 250 Cars Bound for Jersey Reefs Splashed at
Cape May Reef Site
(03/95) CAPE MAY --- At the Cape
May Reef Site off the Jersey Shore, the New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) today deployed the first
50 subway cars from a group of 250 decommissioned by New
York Transit Authority (NYTA) for use in the state's artificial
reef program. The state will deploy the remaining 200 cars
at four other artificial reefs over the next few months.
"These subway cars are an environmental
and economic boon for New Jersey," said DEP Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell. "New fishing and diving opportunities
will enhance our shore economy, while our marine ecosystems
will gain new habitat."
Commissioner Campbell was joined at today's
deployment by New York Transit Authority officials, fishing
and environmental advocates, and Mayor Malcolm Fraser of
Cape May Point, Mayor Suzanne Walters of Stone Harbor, Mayor
William Pickolycky of Woodbine, and Mayor Nate Doughty of
The Cape May Reef Site is approximately
8.5 miles offshore from Cape May, with bottom depths of
45 to 70 feet. DEP plans to allocate the remaining 200 subway
cars among four artificial reef sites - Atlantic City Reef,
Deep Water Reef (off of Ocean City), Garden State North
Reef, and Shark River Reef - in accordance with the local
conditions at each site.
The New York Transit Authority will bear
all costs associated with cleaning the cars and deploying
them at the sites.
Since the beginning of 2001, NYTA's artificial
reef program has deployed decommissioned "Redbird"
subway cars that had been in service since the 1964 World's
Fair. To date, the program has deposited 967 of the 1,217
cars available at reefs in Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia
and Georgia. New Jersey is acquiring the final 250 cars
available in this round of decommissioning, the second largest
number of cars for any one state after Delaware's 567 subway
Each Redbird car is approximately 51 feet
in length, a little under nine feet in width, and just over
nine feet in height. Prior to the cars' deployment, the
NYTA strips each car of all tanks, plastic, degradable materials,
floatables and greases to avoid possible contamination of
the marine ecosystem. NYTA also removes the wheel assemblies
and undercarriages of the cars to be sold as scrap metal.
Past studies of artificial reefs suggest
the subway cars 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.
New Jersey previously has used subway cars
for reefs, having deployed five Philadelphia SEPTA cars
at the Sea Girt reef site in 1990.
The deployment of the subway cars coincides
with New Jersey's initiative to revise its 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, developing
comprehensive materials standards and fisheries goals,"
As part of this initiative, DEP has formed
an independent scientific and technical reef advisory committee,
comprised of scientists from federal agencies, other states
and academia. The advisory committee will oversee a monitoring
program at the subway car sites to study water quality,
fisheries and biota, and the durability of the reefs.
Prior to the committee's final report,
the state is implementing a moratorium on offshore placement
of any additional artificial reef material, with the exception
of rock, concrete, and ships and barges.
At today's event, Commissioner Campbell
announced that the members of the committee will include:
Angela Cristini of Ramapo College, who specializes in aquatic
invertebrates and toxics; Frank Steimle of the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a research specialist in
fisheries biology; Stan Gorski of the NMFS whose specialty
is fisheries habitat; Dennis Suszkowski of the Hudson River
Foundation whose specialty is toxics; Chris LaPorta, the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Reef Coordinator; Jeff Tinsman, the Delaware Fish and Wildlife
Service Reef Coordinator; and Michael Bruno of the Stevens
Institute, a registered professional engineer and professional
certified SCUBA instructor, who specializes in civil ocean