Artificial Reefs: More Than Just Habitats
Did you know that artificial reefs serve as more than simply habitats for oceanic creatures? They also provide shore protection and enhance the surfing experience. Take this ASBPA quiz to see how much you know about artificial reefs.
FORT MYERS - An artificial reef is an underwater structure made by man. Many people think artificial reefs are only for fish; although they used to be, times are changing. Artificial reefs are now being utilized to slow beach erosion and, as coastal scientists and engineers have discovered, the benefits are numerous. Read on and take this quiz to learn more.
1: What are the benefits of artificial reefs?
Answer: E. Artificial reefs do more than simply provide habitat for marine life. Coastal engineers have learned through experimentation that, if engineered properly, artificial reefs can also reduce shoreline erosion and enhance recreational opportunities, including surfing, diving and fishing. Another benefit is that reefs are mostly submerged underwater and do not degrade the natural beauty of the beach.
2: True or false: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers artificial reefs an innovative approach to retaining sand.
Answer: True. The Corps has recently OK'd the use of artificial reefs in Solana Beach, Calif., as part of efforts to preserve the adjacent sandy shoreline. Although this concept has been gaining in popularity around the world, the U.S. has been slow to implement it. One of the most famous artificial reefs in the world is the Narrowneck artificial surf reef at the north end of Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast.
3: What kinds of materials are artificial reefs made of?
Answer: D. Due to environmental and public safety concerns, artificial reefs must be constructed of heavy, stable, durable and nonpolluting materials. They are often constructed from geotextile containers or bags, natural rock or artificial rock. In addition, artificial reefs are generally designed to provide surfaces for algae and invertebrates to attach to, which attract other fish and enhance the marine life in the area.
4: True or false: Artificial reefs to be constructed in federal waters must be permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Answer: True. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for permitting artificial reefs in federal waters; these permits can take six to nine months to be approved. Individual state agencies may have their own permitting processes as well. Among items included in the permitting plan are placement, size and design of the reef.
5: True or false: Artificial reefs are the solution to our beach erosion problem.
Answer: False. Artificial reefs are designed to absorb the impact of large ocean swells, allowing sand to fall out of suspension behind the reef. While they are not a "magic bullet" solution for all beach erosion problems, they can be useful to curb erosion at specific hot spots.
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