On Wednesday, Sept. 12 the Escambia County Marine Resources Division managed the deployment of 12 concrete artificial reef modules by ReefMaker LLC out of Orange Beach, Alabama. The reef modules are 15 feet tall and weigh 18 tons each. These modules were deployed in the Escambia Southeast Reef Site, approximately 10 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass. Water depths range between 80 and 100 feet.
Funding for the reefs was provided by the Natural Resources Damages Assessment from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, through an agreement with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The NRDA project involves creating artificial reefs in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay counties. In Escambia, reef sites were placed in two sites called Casino and Escambia Southeast. Total funding allocated for the NRDA project was $11.46 million with the Escambia County portion totaling $2.7 million. NRDA funding is intended to compensate anglers and divers for loss of use during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
According to a recent economic evaluation of artificial reefs by the University of West Florida's Dr. Bill Huth, fishing and diving on Escambia County's artificial reefs support 2,348 jobs and account for more than $150 million in economic activity each year.
To view all Escambia County artificial reefs coordinates, click here.