Archive for the 'Artificial Reefs' Category

TPW TV–Texas Clipper 10 Years Later

Friday, November 17th, 2017
Reefing the Texas Clipper 10 years ago.

Reefing the Texas Clipper 10 years ago.

 

This is Passport to Texas

Ten years ago, Texas Parks and Wildlife sent a ship called The Texas Clipper to the gulf floor to serve as an artificial reef.

Texas Parks & Wildlife has taken a section of the Gulf of Mexico that was once a barren dessert, and created an enormous ecosystem of 180,000 square feet of substrate, to bring new life for both the fisherman and the divers.

Tim O’Leary takes sport divers out to explore the Texas Clipper which now teems with marine life.

This is a world class wreck. I want Texans and Texas to get excited.

The Clipper is an oasis for the marine life of the Gulf of Mexico. Dale Shively headed the project for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This is quite an adventure to come back 10 years later and see that it’s a tremendous dive opportunity, it’s a great place for fishing, and it’s a great place for marine habitat. I think it’s a great dive destination. Lots of marine life, a lot of coral, juvenile reef species of all different types. You’ve got thousands and thousands of square feet of hard surface area and you can see that where the marine life is growing on the ship itself. I would consider this a big success for an artificial reef.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS airs a segment on the Texas Clipper, then and now, the week of November 19. Check local listings.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

The Kraken Serves Texas as an Artificial Reef

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

This is Passport to Texas

On Jan. 20th, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, more than 60 miles off the coast of Galveston. Alison Baldwin is an Artificial Reef technician.

Because Texas [gulf floor] doesn’t have a lot of structure, it makes it hard to for fishermen to fish because fish really enjoy structure. So any time we put structure out here, it’s really good for fishermen and divers.

Program Leader, Dale Shively, says the Kraken, which began life in 1987 as a Japanese cargo ship, was cleaned of fuel, oil and hazardous materials before being deployed into gulf waters.

We’re at our reef site, about 65 miles out of Galveston. We’re trying to maneuver into a deep water spot that’s at least 140 feet deep.

To facilitate a controlled flood to sink the ship, Baldwin says work crews cut four large holes into the its hull.

Water will rush into the stern, and we’re hoping that the stern touches the bottom first, and all that super structure will fill with water, and it will bring the bow down nice and slow.

Everything progressed flawlessly, because of the planning and preparation that went into it beforehand.

As soon as we sink the ship, there should be fish on it in minutes—which is really exciting.

Since 1990, the artificial reef program has documented more than 200 marine fish species that make these complex, stable and durable habitats home.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Preparing to Release the Kraken

Friday, November 11th, 2016
The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

This is Passport to Texas

The artificial reef team at Texas Parks and Wildlife works on several projects at once. Each with staggered timelines.

The whole process [for each] can take several years.

Program leader, Dale Shively says monies for mitigation from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill that came to Texas Parks and Wildlife were earmarked to establish new reefs.

One of those is an offshore, deep water ship project. We have a reef site that’s 70 miles out of Galveston in 140 feet of water that is designed for a ship. Recently, we awarded a contract on a ship that’s currently being cleaned in Brownsville, Texas. One of my staff members thought it would be fun to name it The Kraken. I, for one, didn’t know what a Kraken was. Later I found out it was a sea monster from various movies and Greek Mythology.

Far from being scary, this ship will attract marine life and help to improve recreational and commercial fishing.

So, we’re hoping to have that cleaned and ready to go later this year, if we can get all the approvals in place.

For all the latest information on the artificial reef program, log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and use the key words “artificial reef”.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Types of Artificial Reefs

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

This is Passport to Texas

Artificial reefs created in the Gulf of Mexico provide substrate and habitat for marine life. The distance from shore factors into the kind of materials used for the reefs.

Well, in our program we look at the Gulf of Mexico as a whole.

Dale Shively is artificial reef program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife

As you get near shore, you get into shallower environments; you get into more mud-type environments. As you travel farther off shore, you get into deeper water, clearer water, more sand-type environments. The materials that we use are related to whatever water depth, and the type of water that we’re working in.

Rubble may be used near shore whereas ships and oil platforms are best in deep water.

In shallower environments, we need materials that are going to fit within a certain clearance—and that clearance is set by the coast guard and by the US Army Corps of Engineers. So, as we travel farther offshore, we’ll get into larger pieces of material such as ships and oil platforms. But, we’ll typically use pre-designed materials such as concrete pyramids, or man-made materials such as quarry rock, concrete culverts, and things like that for the shallower environments.

These reefs, near shore and farther out, attract marine life and create better fishing opportunities for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

What are Artificial Reefs?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for hard substrate, which is necessary to attract marine life.

So, the little bit of hard substrate that we do have out there, we want to maintain and enhance that.

Dale Shively program leader for the artificial reef program at Texas Parks and Wildlife says they use various materials—from decommissioned ships and old oil platforms to construction rubble—to create substrate.

We don’t dump anything. We deploy materials. The materials that we use have been vetted, they are stable, complex and durable. They’re environmentally safe, and they add to the complexity of the environment that’s there.

Shively says it doesn’t take long before the artificial materials “come to life.”

The material immediately attracts marine organisms—especially fish. That’s one of the features. But, what we look for is long-term settling of organisms at that reef site. In a short period of time they will what we call ‘foul’ the material by growing on it. You’ll get barnacles, and crustaceans and other marine life. Once they settle and actually grow onto the structure that creates the basis of the food web. And from there, you develop a complex reef environment.

And that enhanced food web means better fishing for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.