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Charles Hughes Kirbo Memorial Reef


Jacksonville & The Reef Ball Foundation

Build The Charles Hughes Kirbo Memorial Reef

For Immediate Release;
Contact: Larry Beggs


JACKSONVILLE, FL (December 16, 1999)- The Reef Ball Foundation, an international environmental organization that restores coral reefs and marine habitat with attractive, environmentally safe artificial reefs, is in the construction phase of making 500+ Reef Balls to be deployed about 6 miles off the coast between St. Augustine and Jacksonville. This innovative and proven reef design is the first of its kind to be deployed in all of Northeast Florida. The site of construction is at the Music Shed, downtown courtesy of the Jacksonville Riverfront Corporation. There will be a Media Day at the Music Shed, downtown Jacksonville, on Saturday, October 23rd from 11:00 to 12:00 noon to kick off the final construction phase.

The reef is being built in honor of Atlanta, Georgia attorney, Charles H. Kirbo, who served as an advisor and lawyer to President Jimmy Carter, was a trustee of the Carter Center and a trustee of the T. M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Trust. The reef is being built thanks to a grant from the Kirbo Charitable Trust and the Reef Ball Foundation.

The project will be a collaborative effort between local schools, such as Mandarin and Fletcher High Schools, St. Augustine High School and Jacksonville University, and community organizations and local businesses such as the Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing Club and Jacksonville Reef Research Team. Construction of the Reef Balls is being done by Reef Innovations. Representatives from each of these organizations will be present to answer questions regarding their involvement. The project coordinator, Larry Beggs, is Vice President of the Reef Ball Development Group, LTD and president of Reef Innovations.

Reef Balls are mound shaped concrete artificial reef modules that mimic natural coral heads. The modules have many different sized holes in them to provide habitat for many types of marine life. Reef Balls are made by pouring environmentally safe concrete into patented mold systems patented by the Reef Ball Development Group who is also a partner in this project. They are engineered to be simple to make and deploy, and are unique in that they can be floated to their drop site behind any boat by utilizing an internal, inflatable bladder. However, due to the sheer size of this reef, it will have to be taken offshore on a barge. Reef Balls are designed to be stable on the ocean floor, and have been proven not to move even after hurricane force winds have passed overhead.

Patented Reef Ball systems have several advantages over the artificial reefs currently being built. The modules are affordable, easy to deploy, and they populate with fish quickly. Additionally, because the reef can be placed on the sea floor in a systematic way, it lends itself to doing research. This is where the local schools and Reef Research Team can take advantage of them in an effort to use this as a research reef. Students from area colleges and high schools will be trained to collect data, like water quality and fish counts, to contribute to a database of information on the productivity of reefs. Reef Balls are unique among other artificial reefs since they are designed to attract the same number and densities of main species as the natural reefs. Not having too many or too few of all marine species helps to keep the reefs in "balance" so that production of fish occurs rather than just an attraction of fish.

With over 200 projects worldwide, The Reef Ball Foundation is making a big splash to help save the world’s ailing ocean reefs,and contribute to the educational efforts of students interested in marine science and preserving their oceans. The foundation’s projects range from the Boy Scout’s of America’s High Adventure program in Islamorada, Florida to the government of Sarawak’s marine sanctuary for sea turtles in Malaysia to Instituto Ecoplan’s habitat restoration project in Brazil. Upon completion of the project, The Reef Ball Foundation will be loaning students at area schools up to six molds per school to continue construction of balls that can be deployed at a later date next spring.


CHK Memorial Reef
Project Outline
Charles H Kirbo Bio
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Support Partners
Press Release
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