Artificial Reefs as Restoration Tools for Alaska's Coastal Waters
Artificial reefs are widely utilized as devices for enhancing fish habitat and have demonstrated potential as marine habitat restoration tools. Pre-planned artificial reef designs integrate biology and engineering to create specific habitats that mimic natural habitat. These artificial structures encourage settlement by plants and benthic invertebrates, and provide both shelter and a forage base for fish. In May 2006, Alaskaï¿½s first artificial reef system was installed near Whittier in western Prince William Sound. The reef is comprised of pyramidal concrete structures called Fish Havens and spherical concrete structures called "Reef Balls". Master's student Brad Reynoldsis surveying the artificial reef for two years to assess how it influences the immediate marine environment in comparison to natural rocky reef sites. The study will utilize intensive dive surveys, fish trap deployments, hook and line surveys, and stationary cameras to monitor and assess the efficacy of artificial reefs as a fish habitat enhancement tool with potential for future marine habitat restoration and enhancement projects in nearshore Alaskan waters. Project partners include the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, University of South Alabama, Prince William Sound Science Center, NOAA Restoration Center, and NMFS Habitat Conservation Division.
POST: Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Network
Prince William Sound Herring Fishery