The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the town to build artificial reefs and coral nurseries to offset reef damage by 2003 and 2006 beach fills at Midtown Beach.
The work will cost the town millions of dollars over a period of 10 years. About 26 acres of shallow reef offshore from The Breakers was covered with sand that drifted from the nearby Midtown Beach sand nourishments, the DEP said Friday.
To mitigate for the damage, the town is required to build a 1.5-acre artificial reef offshore from Widener’s Curve.
Another 0.8 acres of artificial reef must be built near the Breakers Rockpile reef, to be managed as coral nurseries, the DEP said. About 5,000 orphaned corals must be transplanted to the site over 10 years, then relocated into 17 acres of “receiver sites” to benefit a total of 51 acres of impaired marine habitat, the DEP said.
The reef being used for the coral nurseries must be 1.5 acres. But the DEP is allowing the town to count toward that requirement an existing 0.7-acre artificial reef the town constructed in connection with a beach fill at Phipps Ocean Park.