The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor, Shoreline Foundation, Inc., started constructing artificial mitigation reef mats for placement at ten nearshore sites from Satellite Beach to Indialantic in Brevard County. The first placement may occur as soon as next week east of Pelican Beach Park.
The low-lying reefs are concrete mats topped with coquina limestone. The plan is to construct ten reef sites in patches placed in roughly 15 feet of water and about 1,000 feet from the beach. Construction and placement of the ten sites will occur during the summers of 2017 and 2018, when environmental conditions are most favorable.
The ten sites will form roughly five acres of reef area to mitigate about three acres of nearshore coquina rock reef that future beach nourishment work may affect. Future beach work will focus on avoiding nearshore rock during sand placement, however, the Corps anticipates that sand may cover some rock as the beach equilibrates.
The reef mats have a low relief that will not influence the wave break and were designed to provide good habitat for diverse colonies of marine life. The reef mitigation project should not affect beachgoers. Contractors will use a crane barge, which will likely be visible from the beach, as they place the reef mats on the seabed.
Brevard County is the local sponsor for this work, which is part of the county “Mid-Reach” federal shore protection project located between the southern end of Patrick Air Force Base and Indialantic. The Corps is in the pre-construction, engineering, and design phase of the Mid-Reach project; a project agreement with Brevard County was executed in October 2014. The authorized federal project in Brevard County is divided into three segments: North Reach, South Reach and Mid Reach.