FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Long Bay Artificial Reef Association Receives FishAmerica Grant
The Long Bay Artificial Reef Association (LBARA), headquartered in Brunswick County, has received a $10,000 grant from the FishAmerica Foundation. The grant, which is in cooperation with the Coastal Conservation Association-North Carolina (CCA-NC), is for the Yaupon Reef Restoration and Conservation Project. This project, which will begin in December 2002, is for the restoration and monitoring of fisheries habitat in North Carolina's coastal waters, specifically the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Site designated as AR 425. It involves placing and monitoring a group of ultra reef balls on the artificial reef site.
LBARA members Dale McDowell, President, Dick Stone, Grant Writer, and Bob Black, Project Coordinator, are elated that their association and project were chosen for the generous grant. Speaking for the LBARA, McDowell said, "With this money we can continue the enhancement of this reef, plus we will be able to monitor the addition and document how it affects recruitment and aggregation of the fish." The funding for the grant comes from the NOAA Restoration Center and Grady-White Boats.
Since its formation in 1984, the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association has been a leader in local, non-profit, fisheries habitat construction and enhancement. Originally chartered to construct six artificial reefs in the section of Long Bay off Brunswick County, NC, they have constructed and continue to maintain seven artificial reefs in the area. They were the first group in the state to use the concrete reef balls (Project 1998), which have become a standard for artificial reefs around the world.
In an effort to make the most of the funds from the grant, the LBARA will be constructing the reef balls locally and is welcoming volunteers. Tommy Thomes, of Long Beach Pier, donated the use of the construction site, which is located off Beach Road between Southport and Oak Island. Project Coordinator, Bob Black, will be scheduling the concrete pours and coordinating the volunteers. To volunteer some time for this project, contact Black at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-278-4137.
For its next project, the LBARA has begun investigating a program entitled Rigs to Reefs, hoping to continue the great fishery habitat and fishing that has developed around the Frying Pan Light Tower, which is scheduled for removal during 2003. The rigs to reef program, which is very popular off Texas and Louisiana, involves leaving the underwater section of a decommissioned rig or platform as an artificial reef.