Up Reef Ball Foundation Photo Gallery » Geographical Database for photos, videos, GPS Coordinates, news, and project descriptions. » North Carolina Reef Ball Projects and Photos » Nags Head Reef Ball Project Sept 2000 at Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park Slideshow

More than 500 concrete balls will be placed in clusters five miles off Nags Head. The state Division of Marine Fisheries hopes the artificial reef will attract and shelter fish and other sea life. At left is an aquarium-sized model of the reef balls. 500 artificial reef balls nearly ready to be sunk By NOAH GARRETT Exactly 500 artificial reef balls currently being constructed in Wanchese are almost ready to be dumped offshore as another reef site maintained by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. Marine Fisheries Technician Kenny Pekrun, of the N.C. Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, said the 500 reef balls are just one example of the types of artificial structures used to enhance sand bottom areas offshore. According to North Carolina's Artificial Reef Guide, durable and stable material such as concrete pipe, ships, barges, and prefabricated structures are colonized by small marine organisms soon after settling in the water. Once the smaller creatures begin to flourish, small bait fish begin feeding. When the bait fish arrive, the bigger predatory fish follow which nearly completes the new oceanic habitat in just a short time period. On top of using reef balls, other materials including sea vessels, train boxcars, boat mold and surplus military aircraft are used to make artificial reefs. In this location in particular, Pekrun said the rubble from the new Croatan Sound bridge construction is being used. The 500 reef balls, which cost more than $100 a piece to build, are being built by Reef Innovations. The Florida-based company was expected to pour concrete over the molds in Wanchese yesterday (Monday) afternoon. The artificial reef program receives funding and support from the North Carolina General Assembly as well as private donations for construction costs. The funding for coordination, permitting, and buoying of artificial reefs is obtained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Federal Aid in Sportfishing Restoration Program. The 500 reef balls waiting to go into the water, are scheduled to go offshore this fall. Last fall, several hundred similar reef balls were dumped several miles off the Outer Banks coastline. However, some are worried that the shifting sandy bottom may affect the reef balls. After several dives, the shifting sands have apparently not harmed last year's reef ball deposit.

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