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SARASOTA -- Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" and its host Mike Rowe proved last week that Sarasota County's artificial reef construction can be a dirty job. The popular Discovery Channel show came for a visit to Sarasota County on Jan. 30 to film a show in Sarasota County following the crew of Reef Innovations, a local artificial reef construction contractors, according to a county press release. The company manufactures and deploys reef balls, which give shelter to fish and marine life, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist Mike Solum stated in the press release. As part of the show, Rowe was tasked with helping produce some reef balls and the new "layer cake" ball for lobsters and stone crabs, as well as one of the fiberglass molds used to cast the balls, Solum stated in the release. Mote Marine laboratory donated a boat to Solum and the show's production team to deploy the balls, Solum stated. "In the summer, the Reef Innovations plant feels like the hot side of the moon," Solum stated in the release. "Sweltering heat with a fine layer of concrete dust everywhere. This year it was cold and windy. Then, for the film shoot, Mother Nature decided to make things interesting by adding a cold front and pushing the wind up to 20-30 miles per hour. The water was very rough with high waves white-capped as far as you could see." With the waves lapped over the bow of the 46-foot-long vessel, the crew landed on a spot where they could deploy the reef balls and shoot underwater footage, the press release stated. When Rowe arrived back on shore, he apparently caused quite a scene at City Island's Old Salty Dog Restaurant, where he chatted up diners and restaurant employees, the press release stated. "He was genuine, sincere and kind," Solum stated. "I could see why he is so popular." The show is expected to air on the Discovery Channel within the next two to six months. For more information about the county's artificial reef program, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at (941) 861-5000 and ask for Coastal Resources.

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