DEPLOYS DECOMMISSIONED SUBWAY CARS IN ARTIFICIAL REEFS
Next Round of 50 Cars Splashed at Atlantic City Reef Site
(03/102) TRENTON --- The New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) dropped a third
round of 50 subway cars today at the Atlantic City Reef
Site for use in the state's artificial reef program. The
decommissioned subway cars are part of 250 acquired from
the New York Transit Authority (NYTA).
"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."
Past studies of artificial reefs suggest
that 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.
DEP deployed the first 50 subway cars at
Cape May Reef on July 3 and the second 50 cars at Deep Water
Reef off Ocean City on July 16. The remaining 100 subway
cars will be allocated to Garden State North and Shark River
The 4.0-square mile Atlantic City Reef
Site is approximately 12 miles offshore from Atlantic City
and currently is comprised of over 53,000 cubic yards of
vessels, tanks, and other materials.
Since 2001, NYTA's artificial reef program
has deployed over 1,000 decommissioned "Redbird"
subway cars at reefs in Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia
and Georgia. NYTA bears all costs associated with cleaning
the cars and transporting them to the reefs.
Each Redbird car is approximately 51 feet
in length and nine feet in width and height. Prior to deployment,
NYTA strips each car of all tanks, plastic, degradable materials,
floatables and grease to avoid possible contamination of
the marine ecosystem. NYTA also removes the wheel assemblies
and undercarriages to be sold as scrap metal.
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 committee will convene
early this fall for an initial review of the subway car
Prior to the committee's final report,
the state is implementing a moratorium on placement of any
additional artificial reef material, with the exception
of rock, concrete, and ships and barges.