The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Artificial Reef Program completed several reef enhancements during the last weeks of May, which includes artificial reefs (AF) close to Oregon Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet.
The program completed the disposal of the old Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet, part of a multi-year effort with the N.C. Department of Transportation. This project included 68 barge loads of bridge material, totaling approximately 80,000 tons of concrete.
The material was transported to eight different reef sites: AR-130, AR-140, AR-145, and AR-160, all off Oregon Inlet; AR-250, and AR-255, both off Ocracoke Inlet; AR-320, off Beaufort Inlet; and AR-340, off Bogue Inlet. This was the largest amount of material associated with any artificial reef project in the history of the Artificial Reef Program.
An artificial reef is a manmade underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom. In North Carolina, they serve as crucial spawning and foraging habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish species.
The Division maintains 68 artificial reefs, located from estuarine waters to 38 miles from shore. They are situated so that they can be reached from every maintained inlet in the state.
For more information about the program, which includes an interactive map of the location of the artificial reefs throughout North Carolina, visit https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/marine-fisheries/public-information-and-education/coastal-fishing-information/artificial-reefs.