Nonprofit seeks to install 1,000 ‘Mini Reefs’ in SWFL waterways

Scientists say we need to act now to make sure our waterways don’t become grave sites for marine life.

Nonprofit Ocean Habitats is asking for sponsors to help install its trademarked Mini Reefs in Southwest Florida waterways to save aquatic animals from underwater dead zones.

“When you go back and look to see the rate of change over the first six months and to a year, you kind of see everything that’s going to be on there,” said David Wolff, founder of Ocean Habitats.

The nonprofit told us they have seen dead zones, especially in local canals. The Mini Reefs are designed to be installed under docks in saltwater canals. They are meant to provide nursery habitats for native marine life.

FGCU Professor James Douglas with the university’s water school said we need to take steps to combat destruction of our native marine and ecosystems.

“These are the gateway to understanding interactions between the land the shoreline and in the ocean,” Douglas said. “We operated with the sense that we could do whatever we want on land and not affect the water, and we’re realizing that’s not true.”

Ocean Habitats said it would like to install 1,000 mini Reefs in Southwest Florida waterways by the end of 2019.

“Some take a little bit longer to grow up,” Wolff said. “You just kind of see it come alive from this blank canvas of plastic, and it turns into a vibrant little ecosystem.”

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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