Florida Scuba News





Bay County Reef Report


The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA) has many groups calling them, “The most active and aggressive volunteer artificial reef association in the entire state.” In June, the group assisted the City of Mexico Beach in deployment of 90 Reef Balls funded by a grant from Florida’s FWCC. The operation benefited from beautiful weather and the crew was able to make a pinpoint drop. This site will prove excellent, as many of the Reef Balls are touching each other.
“This may well be the best reef ball site we have ever built, and will provide excellent fish habitat,” said Ron Childs, MBARA president.
Paul Sabiston, Mexico Beach’s new city manager added, “We are proud of the excellent community involvement and really appreciate the FWCC not only helping to fund this project, but also having personnel on site for the deployment.”
The contractor for the project was Coastal Reef Builders of Pensacola, FL. The deployment was made at the “Car Body Site”; specific coordinates are 29 53.805 and 85 31.995, and water depth is 60 feet.
Later that same month, MBARA vice president Bob Cox supervised the deployment of an additional 50 Reef Balls. This deployment included memorial reefs and was placed in five different locations. The four memorial sites and their location are:
Beanie and Hosehead Reef
DGPS 29 53.835 85 28.155
Brian Moeller Reef
DGPS 29 53.948 85 28.269
Harry Phinizy Reef
DGPS 29 54.155 85 28.440
Charles F. House Reef DGPS 29 53.150 85 32.605
The memorial reefs consisted of 10 Reef Balls each and were paid for by family and friends in memory of their loved ones. The remaining 10 Reef Balls were placed on the Mexico Beach Barge, a 200-foot long hopper barge that was put in place by the Association last summer. This barge is the largest single item deployed by the MBARA, and the added structure will make it an even better habitat. In addition to the benefits to the marine creatures, the added habitat enhances local coastal communities.
A study done by Dr. Fredrick Bell and two other economists established a net worth on the artificial reefs of Northwest Florida, and also concluded that every dollar spent is worth over $300, based on the impact to the local economy.
For more information on the artificial reefs of Mexico Beach or for details on how to contribute to an excellent community organization, visit the website: www.mbara.org or call the Mexico Beach Tourist Development Council.
Danny Grizzard, Panama City Beach

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