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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Turning Old Bridges into Coral-Reef Fish Habitat

Picture enormous cranes lifting the iron truss sections of an old bridge onto the top of large round poles on the deck of a barge. Then picture tugboats towing the barge to a predetermined site in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 3 miles south of Mobile. There, ballasts on the barge are partially filled with sea water. When the barge lists to one side, the trusses roll off into the water, aided by the "roller effect" of the round poles. Since 1995 the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has been cleaning truss bridges scheduled for replacement and "recycling" them to artificial reefs, because there are no natural reefs off Alabama's coast. So far, the ALDOT has created three reefs, and according to the Division of Marine Fisheries in the State's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, each reef has been highly successful, attracting large numbers of coral fish and replacing declining or degraded coral-reef fish habitat.
 
--Aug 21, 2006

John Shill, (334) 242-6132 or shillj@dot.state.al.us

photo of a coral reef community of sponges and fish
ALDOT photo
A coral reef community of sponges and fish.

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On or Along Waterways - Alabama
Updated: 12/12/2012
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