Artificial reefs get fiscal boost

by | Jun 19, 2024



Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $5 million investment on Wednesday to develop and maintain artificial reefs in Florida. The state has now invested $115 million in reef recovery and sustainability since the governor first took office.


Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $5 million investment on Wednesday to develop and maintain artificial reefs in Florida.

The allocation will facilitate the installation, oversight, and preservation of artificial reef habitats, adding to the more than 4,300 public artificial reefs already established in state and federal waters. Reef structures provide habitats for marine life and attract recreational activities such as diving and fishing, which boost tourism economies. Moreover, artificial reefs act as barriers that reduce coastal erosion and protect shorelines from storm surges.

The funding, included in the newly signed state budget, will support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in enhancing marine ecosystems.

Speaking in the Florida Keys, DeSantis highlighted the role of artificial reefs in preserving marine life and supporting the local economy.

“It’s part of our state’s ecology,” the governor said. “It helps protect against storms, and of course, it does attract visitors and tourists year round.”

Roger Young, executive director of the FWC, praised the funding.

“We really appreciate that funding to augment the artificial reefs that so benefit our aquatic habitats… and continuing on to the work with that mission of the FWC is the actual mission of the FWC, which is managing fish and wildlife resources for their long term well being and the benefit of the people,” he said.

During a press event, DeSantis compared the state’s investment favorably against federal efforts, noting that the state budget for coral reefs exceeds the total investment requested by the Biden administration for the entire United States. In total, Florida has invested $115 million in reef recovery and sustainability since DeSantis took office.

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