Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative Creates Two New Reefs off Ocean City Coast with Retired New York City Subway Cars
Research Reef and the Isle of Wight Reef Created
OCEAN CITY, MD – Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) partners including the Ocean City Reef Foundation, MTA New York City Transit, the Town of Ocean City, CCA MD and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), placed 44 retired New York City subway cars off Maryland’s Atlantic coast for creation of two new artificial reefs, the Research Reef and the Isle of Wight Reef. This is the third deployment of subway cars on permitted reef sites off Maryland’s coast since May, 2008 when Maryland joined several other Atlantic coastal states in a habitat enhancement plan which recycles decommissioned New York City Transit Authority subway cars to improve benthic habitats off the Atlantic coast.
“This week’s placement of subway cars on the near shore sites at Research Reef and Isle of Wight will provide benefits to sport fishermen and divers, through the enhancement of these sandy, hard bottom, slough areas. In particular, small boat fishermen will have two new locations to fish within easy access of the Ocean City Inlet,” said Martin Gary of Maryland DNR’s Fisheries Service. “The over 60 partners in the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, and the Ocean City Reef Foundation continue to improve marine habitat through their commitment to raising the necessary funds to transport the cars to the Maryland coast”, Gary said.
The Research Reef is approximately 8 nautical miles southeast of the Ocean City, Md. inlet, and represents MARI’s third coastal project. The Isle of Wight Reef is approximately 7.5 nautical miles northeast of the Ocean City, Md. inlet, and represents MARI’s fourth coastal project. Up to 7 sites site will eventually include as many as 600 retired subway cars, and is expected to become a regional fishing and diving destination.
“The build out on these two reef sites represents the most significant near shore reef building efforts in the past decade,” said Greg Hall, President of the Ocean City Reef Foundation. “We look forward to hearing positive reports from sport fishermen and divers this summer.”
The Ocean City Reef Foundation and MARI fund raising efforts have been ongoing over the past year, and will continue as several additional opportunities for subway car placements are anticipated, contingent on funds being available for the cost share to transport the cars. Additional car placements are planned for the upcoming months as funding becomes available.
The creation of three-dimensional reefs emulates historic vibrant marine communities, such as northern, hard bottom habitats, critical to supporting diverse species of fish that were once prolific along the Atlantic coast.
MARI recently celebrated its second anniversary, raising over $1.6 million to create eight new reefs in Chesapeake Bay, and 4 off Maryland’s Atlantic Coast. More than 60 partnering conservation organizations, businesses, foundations, outdoor recreational organizations, and countless individuals have provided resources to make MARI possible. Individuals and businesses can help with reef projects across the State through a tax-deductible donation to the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative. The Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative was created in January, 2007 to raise funds to facilitate development of marine habitat enhancement projects across the state. For more information about the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, visit www.marylandreefs.org.
The Ocean City Reef Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Tax-deductible donations to the Subway Car Project may be sent to the Ocean City Reef Foundation, PO Box 1072, Ocean City, MD 21843. For further information about the OCRF please call 410-208-0064, or visit http://www.ocreeffoundation.com/.