Work Continues for $1M Artificial Reef off Texas

A 381-acre artificial reef planned for the Gulf of Mexico off Texas will include pyramid-style concrete structures friendly to fish.

The Victoria Advocate reported Tuesday that the site 6 miles from the Port O'Connor jetties will be home to the largest artificial reef ever placed in Texas waters.

The "Keeping It Wild Reef" is a $1 million project of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, an affiliated foundation and Coastal Conservation Association Texas. It's expected to be in place in 2017.

Chris Ledford, who's an artificial reef program specialist with the department, says the concrete pyramids will be 10 feet wide on each side and 8 feet high. About 500 pyramids will be included in the reef.

Round holes on the sides will make the interiors accessible to small fish and a large triangle opening will allow turtles to escape the structures. The artificial reef will also provide hard surfaces for barnacles and clams to latch onto and grow.

The reef will be the largest ever placed in Texas waters because decks from two derelict petroleum platforms in the area will be removed, leaving the bare metal legs of the structure. The platforms will be placed on their sides or their top parts will be cut off. If the top parts of the structure are cut off, they can be placed in the water to create more reef material.

Ledford said that the Port O'Connor site is one is a series of artificial reefs the department aims to build along the coast.

The department is still waiting on some permits for the project.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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