NJ Subway Reefs Show “Unusual Damage”

by Dave on February 16, 2009

subway-cars-create-coral-reefFrom the Press of Atlantic City:

New York City subway cars placed on the state’s artificial fishing reef off this resort in April already are showing “unusual damage,” a state spokeswoman says, and the program has been suspended.

The state was planning to take as many as 600 of the subway cars, but the first deployment, at the Atlantic City Reef, 8.8 nautical miles off Absecon Inlet, has put the program in jeopardy.

The 35,000-pound cars were supposed to provide a durable reef habitat for years. Materials used for artificial reefs are supposed to retain 90 percent of their structural integrity after 30 years, according to state standards.

Several weeks ago, divers doing routine monitoring of the reef reported the cars are showing damage after less than a year in the ocean.

Using subway cars as artificial reefs is a practice that Delaware employs, with over 700 cars on the so-called Red Bird Reef, as the NY Times covered during the last Delaware subway car dump in April:

Sixteen nautical miles from the Indian River Inlet and about 80 feet underwater, a building boom is under way at the Red Bird Reef.

One by one, a machine operator has been shoving hundreds of retired New York City subway cars off a barge, continuing the transformation of a barren stretch of ocean floor into a bountiful oasis, carpeted in sea grasses, walled thick with blue mussels and sponges, and teeming with black sea bass and tautog.

“They’re basically luxury condominiums for fish,” Jeff Tinsman, artificial reef program manager for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said as one of 48 of the 19-ton retirees from New York City sank toward the 666 already on the ocean floor.

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