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Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, are set to get a boost this summer with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water. The Building Conservation Trust, the national habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association, contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which will utilize innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem. “It will be very difficult to tell that this is anything but a natural reef within a few short months of deployment,” said Sean Stone, executive director of BCT. “This is the kind of exciting project that we are targeting to enhance the local marine environment and expand opportunities for anglers and divers. We are very proud to be a part of this partnership.” The Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation was created to honor the memory of Andrew Harris who was struck by a boat while snorkeling in the Jupiter Inlet on June 8, 2014. The foundation’s work will help assure the long-term health and vibrancy of the local marine environment where Andrew loved to dive and fish. The site for the project off Jupiter is about 3.5 miles off the Jupiter Inlet in 88-feet of water and was flat, featureless sand plains near the existing Zion Train, Miss Jenny and ESSO Bonaire “Wreck Trek.” The new reef cells will rise up to eight feet off the sea floor and create interconnected cavities and surfaces exposed to sunlight and water current. The structures, which cover a 350-by-150-foot area, are designed to provide a specific habitat environment favored by a wide range of marine organisms so that where there is now only flat sand, a flourishing ecosystem will develop. “From that area of the Florida coast anglers in all kinds of boats target a wide range of pelagics – everything from sailfish to amberjack – so the reef has the potential to make a noticeable impact as a BISBEE’S CONSERVATION JOURNAL Q1/Q2 • 2016 75


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