DEPLOYS DECOMMISSIONED SUBWAY CARS IN ARTIFICIAL REEFS
Final Round of 50 Cars Splashed at Shark River Reef Site
(03/148) TRENTON --- The New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) dropped its
fifth and final round of 50 subway cars today at the Shark
River Reef Site off Monmouth County for use in the state's
artificial reef program. The decommissioned subway cars
are part of 250 acquired from the New York Transit Authority
"Our artificial reef program provides
tremendous benefits to fishermen, divers, and our shore
economy," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.
"As a pilot project, research at reef sites that include
these subway cars will enhance our understanding of marine
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, followed by 50 cars at Deep Water
Reef off Ocean City on July 16, 50 cars at the Atlantic
City Reef on July 25, and 50 cars at the Garden State North
Reef on September 3.
The 0.72-square mile Shark River Reef Site
is approximately 15.6 miles offshore from Manasquan in Monmouth
County and currently is comprised of over 761,000 cubic
yards of rocks, vessels, and tire units.
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. The 250 cars
acquired by New Jersey are the final batch of cars expected
to be available for some time.
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,
and grease to avoid contamination of the marine ecosystem.
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.