14-1: Artificial Reef Program - E&D and Monitoring
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
The RESTORE Act Funds Bucket 3: Spill Impact Component
Tourism Development and Promotion
The Gulf Consortium, through its subrecipient, Hernando County, will complete the planning, design, permitting, and monitoring of ten artificial reefs which will expand Hernando County’s existing permitted artificial reefs, creating a regional network of reefs. The overarching goal of the reefs will be to enhance and increase nature-based tourism within the county, while also creating essential habitat for fish and sessile invertebrates. Planning assessments (site evaluations) will be completed to identify suitable sites that not only meet permitting requirements, but will also provide ecological benefits through their strategic placement as recommended within the County’s Marine Area Strategic Plan. Site characteristics (overall size, depth, sediment type, distance offshore, buffer distance to seagrass and/or live bottom) will be used to design reefs tailored to specific objectives for both recreation and fisheries. Recreational objectives will include enhancement of scuba diving, creation of free diving and snorkeling reefs, and enhancement of recreational fishing. Fisheries objectives will focus on either increasing overall diversity or abundance of target species such as gag grouper.