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Publication #TP-176

Guidelines and Management Practices for Artificial Reef Siting, Use, Construction, and Anchoring in Southeast Florida1

William Lindberg and William Seaman2

Figure 1. 

Guidelines and Management Practices for Artificial Reef Siting, Use, Construction, and Anchoring in Southeast Florida (5 MB, 162 pp)

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This document addresses the concerns for the conservation of numerous coral reefs of southeast Florida. It addresses a specific type of undersea construction that has impacted coral ecosystems but also offers a tool for repair of damage to them. That tool is the deployment of structures on the sea floor to serve as artificial reefs. In fact, artificial habitat materials such as limestone boulders and concrete are already in use to “mimic” to varying degrees the natural structure and ecological function of coral habitats, and thereby hasten recovery and repair damage from accidental vessel groundings, as well as intentional disturbances such as occur with the laying of submarine cables.

To the degree possible, state-of-the-art practices concerning artificial reef science and technology are presented in this document. In some cases, so-called “best practices” are based on solid research; in others it is a matter of relying on tried-and-true practical experiences that have evolved over time. As a first document of its kind in Florida, it offers a benchmark for developing future science-based guidance for the placement of artificial reefs in waters where coral reefs are found. At this stage of the technology, it is realistic to defer “teasing out” best management practices into distinct pages until the next edition of this document.



This document is TP-176, one of a series of the Florida Sea Grant College Program, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2011. Reviewed February 2017. Visit the EDIS website at


William Lindberg, associate professor, fisheries and aquatic sciences, Florida Sea Grant College Program; and William Seaman, professor emeritus, Florida Sea Grant College Program; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.