Artificial reef work begins near Brevard shoreline

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017, 5:39 PM EDT

Beachgoers in Brevard County are now seeing a big barge offshore Satellite Beach's Pelican Beach Park, the beginning of a decade-long plan to protect the shore.

  • Barge off Satellite Beach working to build artificial reef
  • Artificial reef site is 1 of 10 that will be installed to protect shore
  • Mats will also attract diverse marine life, engineers say
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The barge will be installing a series of artificial reefs as part of a $29 million renourishment project, which will add some 30 feet of beach in the middle part of the Brevard County shoreline.

On board the barge are large concrete mats with embedded coquina limestone, which soon will be lowered in the ocean about 1,000 feet from the beach.

For this $10.7 million project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the state of Florida and Brevard County, are partnering to construct nearly 10 nearshore reef sites over 8 miles from Satellite Beach south to Indialantic.

In all, 4.8 acres of reef area will be built to protect up to 3 acres of coquina rock already near the shore.

Officials say the mats will not affect the wave break and will have little impact on the current natural rocks.

"I think an artificial reef will definitely help the fishing here," says Don Lagono, who has lived here since the 1950s and loves to fish off the beach. He's looking forward to the mats that engineers say will create a habitat for diverse marine life within months of it being put in.

"It's been great my whole life, but it's going to get even better," he said Thursday.

The barge is based at Port Canaveral and will make trips south to Satellite Beach loaded with the reef mats.

Work will take place this summer and next, when the seas are calmest. Beachgoers won't be affected by the offshore work, officials said.