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Fire Island Reef gets materials from old Tappen Zee Bridge

The use of recycled debris from the former Hudson River bridge to the 744-acre reef is expected to increase marine life and enhance recreational and commercial fishing, state officials said.

A crane removes a section of the old

A crane removes a section of the old Tappan Zee Bridge near Westchester landing on Nov. 11, 2017. The deployment of recycled debris from the former bridge to the Fire Island Reef is expected to increase marine life and enhance recreational and commercial fishing, state officials said Friday. Photo Credit: New York State Thruway Authority

State officials Friday deployed the latest round of concrete and piping materials from the old Tappan Zee Bridge into the artificial Fire Island Reef to provide shelter for fish and other marine life.

The deployment of recycled debris from the former Hudson River bridge to the 744-acre reef is expected to increase marine life and enhance recreational and commercial fishing, state officials said.

"Expanding Long Island's artificial reefs is an innovative way to reuse materials to develop new marine habitats and restore fishery resources," said Basil Seggos,  State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, in a news release.

The materials sunk Friday included 28 road deck panels, concrete substructure and pipe piles, DEC officials said.

The Fire Island reef is two nautical miles from shore at a depth of between 62 and 73 feet. 

Long Island's artificial reefs date back to 1949. In May, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the inaugural deployment at Shinnecock Reef, which included recycled materials  from the Tappan Zee Bridge, state Department of Transportation and state Canal Corporation.

In May, state agencies began deploying barges of Tappan Zee Bridge recycled materials and decommissioned vessels  that have been cleaned of contaminants, officials said. Deployments also were made this summer at Smithtown, Rockaway, Hempstead and Moriches reefs. 

Six more reefs are planned for next year, Cuomo said.

Once the materials settle on the sea floor, larger fish such as black sea bass, cod and summer flounder, will begin to use the habitat and organisms such as barnacles, sponges, corals, and mussels will cling to and cover the material, officials said.

Over time, these recycled structures will become a habitat similar to a natural reef, the DEC said.

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