Environment

Artificial Reefs Near Jekyll Island Get A Concrete Boost

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources added concrete rubble to the artificial reef near the Jekyll Island Pier on April 9.
Credit Courtesy of Georgia DNR

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources dumped concrete rubble into coastal waters this past week, and fisherman should be excited about it.

Georgia has had an artificial reef program for decades, like many other coastal states. There are now 15 Georgia reefs close to the coast and 31 farther offshore.

In the last week, the state expanded two of those reefs off the coast of Jekyll, including one right by the Jekyll Island Pier.

January Murray is the department’s coastal region habitat unit leader who manages the reef programs.

Muray said the reefs are meant to “enhance” fishing opportunities for Georgia anglers.

Konrad Smith is one such angler, out of Saint Simons. He said the reefs are some of the “greatest places to fish” in the region.

“The artificial reefs definitely have a big impact on our coast here,” he said. “And it definitely gives fish a place to hide and a place to mate.”

The additions were prompted by the City of Brunswick’s donation of concrete rubble from former landfill sites. About 300 tons went to supplement each reef.

The enhancement was state funded, thanks to 2017 fishing license revenue legislation, Murray said. The state will continue adding to reefs as more donated concrete and metal comes in, she said.

Murray said she expects sheepshead, black sea bass, trout and oysters to move into the new Jekyll structures. Over the next three years, the department will conduct an official monitoring project at every inshore reef to gather more precise information on the different species present.