OCEAN CITY, MD — Today, Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) partners
including the Ocean City Reef Foundation, MTA New York City Transit, the town of
Ocean City, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), placed 44
retired New York City subway cars off Maryland’s Atlantic coast for creation of
a new artificial reef, the Susan J. Power reef.
“In Maryland, fishing is not only a favorite pastime, but also a cultural
tradition and source of economic stimulus for local communities,” said Governor
O’Malley. “The commitment and accomplishments of the Maryland Artificial Reef
Initiative partners and the Ocean City Reef Foundation to rebuild marine habitat
has been critical to renew our valuable fishing heritage and habitat.”
The Jackspot reef site, the first of five possible sites off of Maryland’s
Atlantic coast, is approximately 19 miles southeast of Ocean City, Md., and
represents MARI’s first coastal project. The site will eventually include as
many as 600 retired subway cars, and is expected to become a regional fishing
and diving destination.
“For the last 11 years we have been placing artificial reef structures aimed at
improving the marine environment, but the new reef at the Jackspot is by far the
biggest project we have ever undertaken,” said Greg Hall, President of the Ocean
City Reef Foundation. “It’s pretty amazing to go back to reef sites and see the
area covered in mussels and swarming with marine life, even as soon as six
months after initial placement.”
The Ocean City Reef Foundation started raising funds for the new reef last
November, when the New York City subway cars became available. A $50,000
donation from Jack and Susan Power supported the first shipment of cars to be
transported to the site. Additional car placements are planned for the upcoming
months as funding becomes available.
“By supporting the Ocean City Reef Foundation’s New York City Transit Authority
project we knew we could directly and immediately make a positive difference in
our coastal resources and fishing opportunities,“ said Jack Power, Holland Point
resident. “Our hope in kicking off this effort is that other individuals,
organizations and businesses support this tremendous initiative. Everyone will
benefit for decades to come.”
"We are very excited about this addition to the artificial reefs," said Ocean
City Mayor Rick Meehan. "Fishing is a part of Ocean City's heritage. These reefs
provide quality habitat for marine life off our coast which benefits not only
the environment but also local businesses, visitors and City residents."
The creation of three-dimensional reefs emulates historic vibrant marine
communities, such as oyster beds and coral reefs, critical to supporting diverse
species of fish that were once prolific along the Atlantic coast. Using a new
documentary and promotional DVD created by world-renowned underwater filmmaker,
Nick Caloyianis, MARI partners will continue to raise public awareness and
financial donations to support fish habitat restoration through artificial
reefs. Caloyianis is expected to dive at the Jackspot reef soon after the cars
have been placed to provide initial documentation for progression of reef
"Using the rail cars to create new reefs helps accelerate the rebuilding of many
important species along Maryland's coast,” said Captain Monty Hawkins, member of
the Maryland Artificial Reef Advisory Committee. “The only thing 'artificial' is
the substrate; all the life is natural. Local anglers and divers often recall a
time when the ocean seemed so full of life that its diminishment seemed
impossible. I think artificial reef construction is a key component to restoring
that past. This project is a huge step toward rebuilding many of our region’s
MARI recently celebrated its first anniversary, raising nearly $1.4 million to
support reef projects around the state. In collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson
Bridge Project, MARI deployed more than 50,000 tons of concrete material from
the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge to create four major reef sites: Point No Point
off St. Mary’s County; Cedar Point at the mouth of the Patuxent River; Tangier
Sound off Crisfield; and the Gooses Reef just west of the Little Choptank River.
Monitoring by divers and fishery biologists indicates that invertebrate
communities and multiple species of fish have started to inhabit all four of the
More than 50 partnering conservation organizations, businesses, foundations,
outdoor recreational organizations, and countless individuals have provided
resources to make MARI possible. Individuals can help with reef projects across
the State by “buying a ton” via a tax-deductible donation to the Maryland
Artificial Reef Initiative. The Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative was created
in early 2007 to raise funds to facilitate development of marine habitat
enhancement projects across the state. For more information about the Maryland
Artificial Reef Initiative, visit www.marylandreefs.org.
The Ocean City Reef Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Tax-deductible donations to the Subway Car Project may be sent to the Ocean City
Reef Foundation, PO Box 1072, Ocean City, MD 21843. For further information
about the OCRF please call 410-208-0064, or visit http://www.ocreeffoundation.com/.
Photos from the reefing event... click on the photo for a higher resolution file.