Foundation this week is continuing one of the most prolific times in its history, amassing truckloads of pre-cast concrete pipe near the harbor in West Ocean City for deployment on the growing artificial reef system off the coast of the resort in the coming weeks.
Truckload after truckload of concrete pipes have been arriving in West Ocean City over the last week or so including another early Monday morning. The concrete pipes are being stacked on a large vacant lot along the south side of the harbor in West Ocean City, the use of which has been generously donated by Dan and Janet Trimper. The Ocean City Reef Foundation has acquired 80 truckloads of the concrete pipes and they will eventually find their way to the ocean floor on the foundation’s permitted artificial reef sites.
Reef Foundation director Captain Monty Hawkins said this week some of the pipes have already been loaded onto the foundation’s smaller barge and are ready for deployment as soon as weather and sea conditions improve. In the larger picture, the Reef Foundation has acquired the use of a huge, 100-plus-foot retired Army Corps of Engineers barge, which will be used to haul the pipes out to the reef sites. The huge barge will be anchored at a central location off the coast and the pipes will be deployed on the growing reef sites.
For the last 17 years, the Ocean City Reef Foundation has been creating a vast network of artificial reefs of the coast of the resort, creating essential habitat for many species critical to the recreational and commercial fishing industries. Over the last year or so, the artificial reef program has been enjoying one of its most prolific times in recent memory with tons of material going down on the designated sites, which range from as close as one mile off the coast to as far away as 20 miles.
The Reef Foundation has been enjoying one of its most prolific times in recent memory over the last few months with several new reefs sprouting up off the coast. Many are named in honor of local fishing icons, including the “Ake Reef” and the “Jimmy Jackson Reef,” for example, but new sites are being added all the time. Late last year, the foundation began planning for a new “Sue Foster Reef” in honor of the Ocean City fishing community icon who lost her battle with cancer. Another reef sprouting up is dedicated to long-time Captain Bob Gowar. Many of the pipes being amassed in West Ocean City will likely find their way to those reefs.
During the last 17 years, the Ocean City Reef Foundation has submerged tons of material, from old boats to retired military equipment to discarded construction materials, to create a vast artificial reef network off the coast. The artificial reefs have enhanced habitat for fish and other sea creatures up and down the food chain, while improving fishing and diving opportunities.