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Feb 1999: The site was constructed around an existing fixed navigational aid, Newport News Middle Ground Light. This is a definite precedent setter on the part of the USCG's 5th District. This will be the first reef site to be developed within the actual harbor of Hampton Roads, within a short distance of the historic Monitor-Merrimac battle site. This reef will be developed as a combination artificial fishing reef and hardclam sanctuary. The site has been chosen based upon hydrodynamic modeling of hardclam larvae dispersion within the harbor developed by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Before an application for permit was filed, individuals from the commercial hardclam industry were consulted and agreed to the concept of a "set aside" to attempt to develop a broodstock sanctuary. On the artificial reef side of the project, the site is, and has been, a desirable destination for recreational fishermen, who have historically caught black drum, striped bass, spot, croaker and flounder. Indications are that seasonal populations of black seabass and tautog should also find the reef habitat in this location attractive. Reef structure in this area will serve a twofold purpose: Prevent harvest of clams within the broodstock sanctuary and... Provide habitat attractive to a number of recreationally important species of finfish.


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