The New York State has plans to recycle the old Tappan Zee Bridge into six new artificial reefs off Long Island, boosting the recreational and sport fishing industries.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described the project as the largest expansion of artificial reefs in the history of the state. The project will utilize more than 43,000 cubic yards of sections of the TZ Bridge and 5,900 cubic yards of jetty rock to support the construction of the six artificial reefs.
New York's Largest Artificial Reefs
The reefs will be located on the shores of Smithtown, Shinnecock, Moriches, Fire Island, Hempstead, and Rockaway. Recycled materials will be transported in the said locations starting May. Other materials allotted for the projects are tugboats, barges, and scows.
Cuomo announced the project during Earth Week, explaining that the initiative came about through a number of efforts and acquired funding. Specifically, it is built on the $300 million investment for Environmental Protection Fund, the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and over $2 million NY Sea grant program. The project also supports the actions taken to veto offshore drilling along New York's coastline.
The governor is positive that the project will enhance New York's marine biodiversity and provide new habitats for coral and fishes. This initiative will also make Long Island more attractive to tourists.
NY Fish Criticizes Slated Project
However, a group called NY Fish, which represents 1,200 fishermen, has expressed doubts on the slated project. The group thinks that the initiative will only bury garbage deep into the water.
Daniel Rodgers, attorney for the group, says that the issue of New York's federal fishing rights warrants more intervention from the state. He explains that New York only receives 7 percent of federal allocations while other states such as North Carolina and Virginia take almost 50 percent.
The Department of Environmental Conservation Marine Artificial Reef Program is currently managing all 12 artificial reefs in the state of New York. Essentially, these reefs promote biological productivity to increase the population of fishes and to provide a healthy habitat for them. They can also attract other forms of marine life and become a reproduction reservoir.
Ultimately, artificial reefs are developed to recreate a whole thriving ecosystem in areas that are already struggling biologically.
Meanwhile, the planned six artificial reefs are expected to serve more anglers and fishermen because of the increased fishing opportunities they can provide. They can also attract recreational divers for nature observation and photography.