Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Reef for marine life created from old Pinellas Bayway bridge

As the old Pinellas Bayway bridge was demolished (this part went down on June 13) the pieces were used to create an artificial reef.

Florida Department of Transportation

As the old Pinellas Bayway bridge was demolished (this part went down on June 13) the pieces were used to create an artificial reef.

The new Pinellas Bayway bridge is not only a boon for drivers and boaters, it turns out fishermen stand to gain from it as well.

Forty-ton concrete sections from the old bridge were dropped this year into the Gulf of Mexico about 11 miles west of John's Pass to form the South County Reef, an artificial reef site. The new reef is about 1,200 feet long and 15 feet high in waters about 45 feet deep.

Bill Horn, an environmental specialist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the contractor, Orion Marine Group, can choose how to dispose of the old bridge material.

The reef site, one of 43 along the gulf coast in Pinellas County, is managed by Pinellas County Solid Waste in coordination with other state and federal agencies.

"These reefs are tremendous for fishing because they (fisherman) don't have to go far to catch kingfish, mackerel, flounder, red or black grouper and hogfish,'' said Jeff Hubbard, a fisherman whose father founded Hubbard's Marina. The elder Hubbard was also credited with developing John's Pass Village.

Charles Mangio of Pinellas County Solid Waste picked the location and supervised Orion Marine through every stage of the 4 ½-month deployment of approximately 12,000 tons of bridge materials.

"We basically wanted large, intact pieces,'' Mangio said. "We didn't want large piles of rubble."

The concrete is cleaned and stripped of anything harmful or toxic to the oceanic environment, such as plastics, rubber or materials with toxic chemicals, he said. Metals are also removed to be sold by the contractor.

Pamela Hallock Muller, a marine science professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, said artificial reefs can be beneficial under the right conditions.

"Concrete structures are possibly the best possible artificial reef materials, at least after natural limestone boulders or structures designed to incorporate limestone rocks and with lots of crevices for little things to live on," she said.

One of her concerns is that the reefs may encourage larger fish to move from their natural habitat and concentrate at the reefs, where they could be fished out. She suggested that restricting fishing for several years would allow the hard-bottom community to become established.

Muller said the material used and location are important.

"The old tire artificial reefs on the east coast were a disaster that is still being cleaned up decades later,'' she said. "Artificial reefs should be placed in sandy areas where they won't affect natural hard bottom and won't be moved around by storms."

fast facts

Watch as the reef is created in the gulf

To see a video posted by Pinellas County of the crew from Orion Marine Group placing a 40-ton span of bridge onto the new artificial reef site and conducting underwater inspections, visit bit.ly/pinellas-reef.

Read more about Pinellas reef sites at pinellascounty.org; search "reefs."

Reef for marine life created from old Pinellas Bayway bridge 10/25/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 3:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    1. Armwood (2-0)

    Up next: at Blake (Thursday)

    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  2. Florida ethics board to hear Go Hillsborough complaint against Buckhorn, Hagan, Murman

    Blogs

    TAMPA — Two years after complaints accused Tampa and Hillsborough County elected leaders of steering a transportation contract to a politically connected firm, the state’s ethics police will finally hear the case.

    Florida Commission on Ethics will hear complaints next month against Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, as well as Commissioner Sandy Murman.
  3. Don't expect to see protests in college football any time soon

    College

    The whispers have segued to chatter. In time, it may evolve into rumblings, or even a groundswell.

    Following the national anthem, helicopters fly over Ohio Stadium in a missing-man formation in tribute to John Glenn before a game between Army and Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch/TNS)
  4. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall

    Autos

    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  5. Restaurant review: Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights should focus on mom-and-pop pharmacy vibe

    Food & Dining

    By Laura Reiley

    Times Food Critic

    TAMPA

    Sometimes, the more time you have with a project, the more complicated it gets. I started hearing about Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights about 18 months ago. It was the vision of Ujwal Patel, a pharmacist;

    Mortar & Pestle opened in Seminole Heights in Tampa in August. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]