On Tuesday, onlookers watched for two hours as a 250-foot retired barge covered with sculptures like a deconstructed water tower and life-sized shark, was sunk to its new home on the seafloor.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the barge- and newest addition to the area's artificial reef- should attract new marine life within about six months.
Martore said larger species, like snapper and grouper, will be attracted to the cave-life container pieces and smaller or younger species will find the pieces of the water tower create a low relief habitat for refuge.
SCDNR biologists created the life-sized concrete sculpture of a white shark that is included on the barge.
This time, we decided to get creative and create a photo op that scuba divers would enjoy,” Martore said.
SCDNR said artificial reefs are similar as coral reefs, however artificial ones are usually placed on areas of seafloor with little natural relief.
Because of this, artificial reefs improve habitat and the spawning grounds for fish and other marine life, which SCDNR says then attracts recreational divers and anglers. Plus, artificial reefs provide a purpose for some materials to be recycled.
Mount Pleasant Waterworks helped construct this barge by donating a water tower from the Old Village area of Mount Pleasant. The tower went through a thorough cleaning to be made safe for the water.
“Repurposing our Old Village Water Tank as an artificial reef allows us the opportunity to fulfill our mission of protecting the environment,” said Mount Pleasant Waterworks General Manager Allan Clum.
“We all have something at stake when it comes to water, and we’re grateful for our partnership with SCDNR as we work together to protect our natural resources," he said.
Sea Hunt Boat Company donated 12 container boxes to the project, with acquisition help from the Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina (CCASC), which has provided support for 15 reef projects so far. Sea Hunt Boat Company also provided half the funds needed for the barge itself and towing it to the reef site, SCDNR said.
The Edisto 60' reef (also known as PA-30) is located about 10 nautical miles offshore. SCDNR said over 20 structures have previously been deployed to the area, including a large ship, military vehicles, and rubble from the old Cooper River Bridge.
About 10 nautical miles offshore, the Edisto 60’ reef (also known as PA-30) is already a well-developed artificial reef spot popular among anglers and divers. Over 20 structures have previously been deployed there, including a large ship, military vehicles, and rubble from the old Cooper River Bridge.