Since 2018, all of New York’s 12 artificial reef sites have received recycled materials that are cleaned of contaminants and approved for use in the marine environment for reef building. Hard, durable materials such as rock, concrete, and steel are strategically placed on the seafloor for reef habitat enhancement.
This is the third year of the largest artificial reef expansion in New York State history, as part of the State’s ongoing initiative to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem and provide habitat for fish and other marine life off of New York’s shore.
In September, materials deployed on Hempstead Reef included a rail car donated by Wells Fargo Rail Corporation (the first of a 75-car donation) and the 70-foot steel tugboat, “Jane.”
Marine life, such as blackfish, black sea bass, cod, and summer flounder, move in to inhabit the new structures, while encrusting organisms such as barnacles, sponges, anemones, corals, and mussels cling to and cover the material. Over time, these recycled structures create a habitat similar to a natural reef and help to improve New York’s diverse marine life and boost Long Island’s recreational and sport fishing and diving industries.
Use the Artificial Reefs Interactive Map to find out more about reef site characteristics, materials used, coordinates of individual patch reefs, and the history of deployments.
If you visit one of New York’s artificial reefs, share your observations using the Artificial Reef Volunteer Fishing & Diving Survey. More information about the benefits of Artificial Reefs can be found on DEC’s website.
Photo of the tugboat “Jane” being deployed at Hempstead Reef provided by Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.