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First phase of largest artificial reef expansion in New York history

Staff Writer |
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo deployed the first installation of recycled materials from the former Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as former Canal vessels, in the Shinnecock Reef, launching the Governor's initiative to significantly expand New York's network of artificial reefs.

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Announced in April, the program is poised to bolster 12 artificial reefs off the shores of Long Island—the largest expansion of artificial reefs in state history.

The materials for the reef expansion will be strategically placed to improve New York's diverse marine life and boost Long Island's recreational, and sport fishing and diving industries.

In addition to the inaugural expansion of the Shinnecock Reef, five additional reef sites will be enhanced this year at sites off the shores of Smithtown, Moriches, Fire Island, Hempstead, and Rockaway.

At the Governor's direction, and with unprecedented, multi-agency coordination, recycled materials from the Department of Transportation, Canal Corporation, and the Thruway Authority will be used to develop New York's artificial reef sites and increase the biodiversity of these habitats for a variety of fish and lobsters.

Construction of New York's first artificial reef dates back to 1949, and this latest initiative marks the state's first coordinated effort to stimulate the full environmental and economic benefits of artificial reefs.

Today, a total of 1,093.2 tons of materials were added to the Shinnecock Reef. Barges dropped 885 tons of clean, recycled Tappan Zee Bridge material, as well as deconstructed New York State Department of Transportation project materials.


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