OAR expands Dog Island’s underwater structure

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM.

He said re-permitting the reef expansion, after the original permit expired in 2011, was a lengthy process, but OAR eventually secured approval form the Army Corps of Engineers. “It took three years to re-permit,” Richardson said. “That’s the hardest part, dealing with the Corps. They’re awful.”

He said OAR had hoped to secure a contractor from Florida, but only Walter Marine, the largest deployer of artificial reefs in the nation, bid. “There’s nobody in our area that’s doing this,” said Richardson.

He said OAR, a completely volunteer group, is working with marine enthusiasts in Apalachicola to expand the reef off of George Island to the eats of Bob Sikes Cut, and perhaps one in shallower water off of Apalachicola. “We got to get it permitted and it takes forever,” Richardson said.

He said they are also trying to permit a reef in shallower waters off Dog Island, perhaps in 25 to 30 feet deep waters.

“It would be closer to shore for smaller boats,” Richardson said. “A lot of people are downsizing and fuel costs are so much. We’re targeting more inshore activity.”

He said by building one off Apalachicola in state waters, there would be more snapper habitat closer to shore, and fishermen could take advantage of a longer state season for the prized food fish.

“We have to make sure were not in shrimpers lanes, or sea turtle habitat,” Richardson said. “We have to go through all the permitting obstacles.”



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