Rockaway Reef Project Kicks Off

A new series of man-made reefs will be constructed off the south shore of Long Island to improve marine life habitat, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation informs.

Federal and state permits were recently secured for the Rockaway Reef project, and the first placement of materials started last week.

“The deployment of these new reef building materials will recreate vital marine habitat essential for improving the health of marine fish while also providing benefits for divers and fishermen alike,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman.

Rockaway Reef, originally permitted in 1965, is a 413-acre area of man-made reefs located 1.6 nautical miles south of Rockaway Beach off Long Island.

Under a previous reef permit, thousands of tons of rock, concrete and steel had been placed there over the decades creating important marine habitat.

The most current permit had sunset in 1989, resulting in no new material being added to the reef, and recent reports had indicated much of the previously placed material had silted in or collapsed, degrading the habitat created.

Rockaway Reef is one of 11 sites managed through NYSDEC’s Artificial Reef Program, which was established to increase fisheries habitat and provide marine fish and other organisms additional opportunities for shelter and foraging.

More than 450 sections of concrete coated steel pipe will be placed to expand the network of individual patch reefs throughout the Rockaway Reef site.

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