Corpus Christi asked to help fund artificial reef

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Associated Press

Posted on March 23, 2014 at 2:02 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Proponents of a plan to create an artificial reef by sinking a 155-foot freighter off the coast of Corpus Christi want to ask the City Council for a $100,000 contribution to help make it happen.

The Saltwater-fisheries Enhancement Association, a Corpus Christi-based nonprofit, asked the Council to add the proposal to its future agenda. The group has committed $100,000 toward the project.

Any contribution from the city would go toward the estimated $500,000 cost of buying the ship and preparing, towing and sinking it about nine miles offshore.

Mike Hurst, who chairs the group's offshore committee, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (http://bit.ly/Q1wYzO ) that the new reef could replace some habitat that was reduced when dozens of offshore oil and gas platforms were removed in recent years. The reefs and the sea life they attract draw fishermen and divers.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is preparing a contract for public bid and collecting the necessary funds. If things fall into place the ship could be in place by the end of the year.

"If the city does not participate then this will probably be the last reefing for a few years as I have other commitments along the coast where local parties are willing to donate funds to reef projects," Dale Shively, the department's Texas Artificial Reef Program leader, wrote in an email. "It does not mean TPWD will be finished with the reef but that other projects will have higher priority."

The ship, a coastal freighter, is waiting in a boat basin in Alabama. Plans call for it to be submerged so that its wheel house is within about 33 feet of the surface of the water.

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Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http://www.caller.com

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