The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has taken an innovative approach to manage the ocean's reefs. Artificial Reefs have long been built out of left over tires and cement blocks which are dropped in the ocean, but Delaware wanted to build a reef of a larger magnitude. Starting in 2008, a contractor has been dumping retired subway cars from New York City into the ocean eighteen miles off the Atlantic Coast, forming the Red Bird Reed.
The subway cars make great homes for fishes of all kinds, and allow life to flourish in what was previous a barren stretch of sea floor. The subway cars are heavy enough that they will not move once dropped in the water, and New York City provides the retired cars for free.
|Tim Shaffer for The New York Times|
As the Red Bird Reef project grows in notoriety, demand for the retired subway cars have shot up. An article which ran in the NY Times in 2008 stated that other organizations were seeking the cars to build reefs. New York State itself is in the process of renewing its permit to build artificial reefs; one the state has secured this permit, the supply of subway cars is expected to dry up.
The subway cars attract all sorts of marine life, including tuna, mackerel, sea bass and flounder. Each fish prefers a different spot in the car, allowing them to co-existing, and the cars are durable enough that they will last for decades.
|Location of the reef|
|Approximate shape of the reef based on documents from the|
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife