The New Artificial Snorkeling Reef in Florida

A new artificial snorkeling reef is set for installation at Casino Beach, Pensacola. The developers said the project should get underway later this year [summer 2020].

The announcement follows a $59,500 grant awarded to Escambia County. The money came from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

They have yet to determine the total footprint (size) of the new snorkel reef in Florida. The organisers said it will depend on the total amount of bid prices (due to end on the 1st August).

Even so, local snorkeling enthusiasts, and novice scuba divers, can expect it to be thirty (30) feet wide and up to two hundred (200) feet in length.

Fish Life at the New Snorkeling Reef

The man-made reef should create a natural habitat for a plethora of underwater organisms and ocean creatures, including:

Furthermore, the manager at Escambia County Marine Resources Division said the new imitation reef will attract similar species like those at two other nearby snorkeling destinations, being:

  • Snorkel Reef East
  • Snorkel Reef Perdido Key

Several other snorkeling reefs in the area also attract species of octopus and shellfish. They occupy small spaces and crevices within the coral formations.

It is not uncommon to find large barnacles developing in this type of ‘human-made’ habitat.

Why is that important?

Well, when barnacles die, they create new homes for other fish families that are small enough to live in them (e.g. blennies and gobies).

So, what was the rationale for installing a new artificial snorkeling reef at the Casino Beach location in Florida?

It appears that greater public access was an important factor. Furthermore, it should not create any extra traffic congestion at J. Earle Bowden Way.

Modular Structure of the New Snorkeling Reef

One important factor in the construction of most artificial reefs is separating the modules some distance apart. Doing so minimizes any natural movement of the sand.

Hence, it allows the fish and marine life to utilize the modular structures and its features to set up a long lasting habitat.

Reviewing the new artificial snorkeling reef at Pensacola Beach, Florida.
The carousel of images show what the new artificial snorkeling reef in Florida may look like once completed.

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