About 130 power line poles recently removed in St. Lucie County will soon have new life as an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to a partnership between Florida Power & Light Company and the county.
The concrete poles south of Easy Street in Port St. Lucie have been replaced with 60 new concrete-spun poles, which is part of the company’s project to enhance service reliability to area customers and reduce service interruptions with a new substation in St. Lucie County. The older poles, weighing a total of about 2,000 tons, have been transported to Harbour Pointe Park in Fort Pierce before they are submerged off the coast later this year to form the new reefs.
In 2005, FPL donated 340 tons of material to create an artificial reef off of the county’s coast, which is now teeming with sea life and several species of fish. The county’s artificial reef program has spared thousands of tons of concrete from landfills, while creating underwater habitats for marine life, fisherman and divers to enjoy.
“FPL has been a great partner working with our program to increase the artificial reefs off of our coast,” said Jim Oppenborn, St. Lucie County marine resource coordinator. “The initial artificial reef created by FPL has become very popular for fishing and diving, featuring more than 30 species of fish and various sea life growing on the concrete poles. These reefs have also generated economic opportunities for area businesses, providing services to visitors enjoying the reefs.”
Did You Know?
There are 2,276 artificial reefs off the coasts of Florida. Visitors to South Florida annually spend $1.7 billion on fishing and diving activities associated with artificial reefs, according to a recent University of Florida study. These expenditures generated approximately 27,000 jobs in the region and created $782 million in wages and salaries.