STANDARD OPERATING PROTOCOL
FOR ARTIFICIAL REEF CONSTRUCTION
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Marine Resources Division
Dauphin Island (251) 861-2882
Gulf Shores (251) 968-7576
Any person, firm, or corporation wishing to deploy materials to be used as artificial fishing reefs must adhere to the following materials and deployment guidelines and float plan filing procedures.
THE ALABAMA ARTIFICIAL REEF CONSTRUCTION PROTOCOL CAN CHANGE! CONTACT YOUR LOCAL MARINE RESOURCES DIVISION OFFICE FOR UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION!
INSPECTION AND PERMITTING
1) Reef materials must be inspected and permitted prior to deployment. Material to be inspected must be in such position as to allow a complete and safe inspection.
2) A $25.00 inspection/permit fee is required for each individual reef, payable to the Alabama Marine Resources Division by personal check, cashier’s check or money order. If two or more components are combined for permitting as one reef, the components must be substantially (permanently) attached to one other. Multiple components not so attached will be permitted separately. ADCNR/MRD inspectors will signify approval of acceptable material and configuration by applying an approved ADCNR/MRD placard. An inspection placard signifying ADCNR/MRD approval will not be placed on the reef material until all discrepancies identified by the inspector have been corrected.
3) The $25.00 inspection/permit fee per individual reef applies to all material transported through Alabama’s waters for deployment offshore. If permitted reef material is transported through Alabama waters for deployment in another state’s waters, permits from that state must be in the possession of the permittee, in addition to the Alabama permit.
The Marine Resources Division’s goal is to provide long-lived, locationally stable marine habitat that will support a complex reef community. Materials to be used in the construction of artificial reefs should be chosen with safety to the marine environment, durability, and stability in mind. All reef material must be of such construction and material type so as not to disassociate, and be substantially weighted to insure that the material will stay in place on the bottom. All materials that could float during deployment must be removed, and materials must be cleaned to ensure that no visible oil or other chemical “sheen” will be evident upon deployment. Prospective reef builders should consult with ADCNR/MRD inspectors regarding the acceptability of any potential reef material before constructing reefs. Call the ADCNR/MRD for information and/or pre-certification. Examples of acceptable materials follow.
Concrete, whether from demolition or purposely fashioned, makes excellent artificial reef material. Specifics of preparation include:
1) Concrete must be clean and free of residue.
2) Any exposed steel reinforcement rod associated with demolished concrete structures must be removed so as not to endanger divers.
3) Reinforcement rod used in purposely fabricated concrete reef structures must be configured so as not to endanger divers.
STEEL OR OTHER METALS
Certain metal materials may be permitted for use as artificial reefs. Inspectors will review plans and evaluate same based upon composition, durability and proper weighting, with permits being issued on a case-by-case basis.
Ships and other large vessels will be inspected and permitted on an individual basis, and may require Coast Guard and/or Environmental Protection Agency certification.
Improperly ballasted tires are potentially harmful environmentally, economically and socially. Tires may be used in the construction of artificial reefs, but only if embedded in, or inseparably captured by concrete. Contact the ADCNR/MRD for details regarding the allowable uses of tires prior to any reef construction activities.
MATERIALS NOT ALLOWED
AUTOMOBILES, BUSES, AUTOMOTIVE AND/OR TRUCK BODIES OR PARTS - will not be permitted.
PLASTIC or METAL DRUMS or CYLINDRICAL TANKS - will not be permitted.
GARBAGE DUMPSTERS - will not be permitted. LARGE, ROLL-OFF DUMPSTERS MAY BE ALLOWED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. CALL FOR FURTHER INFO.
SMALL BOATS - will not be permitted.
FIBERGLASS HULLED VESSELS - will not be permitted.
WHITEWARE (APPLIANCES) - will not be permitted.
SHOPPING CARTS - will not be permitted.
PVC PIPE - will not be permitted.
REEF DEPLOYMENT FLOAT PLAN
1) Following material inspection and permit issuance, the prospective reef builder will notify the individual agent of the ADCNR/MRD who issued the permit, or in his absence, the administrative support staff from that ADCNR/MRD office, and provide the following specific information regarding the proposed deployment event:
1. Reef deployment area.
2. Port of departure.
3. Date and time of departure from dock.
4. Estimated time of arrival at destination.
5. Estimated date and time of return to dock.
2) Float plans must be filed with the appropriate ADCNR/MRD agent or office between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at least one day in advance of planned departure to allow for notification of multi-agency enforcement and the U. S. Coast Guard. If planning a Monday deployment, contact the ADCNR/MRD agent or office of permit issuance on the Friday prior, for plan filing instructions. ADCNR/MRD staff will record the above information on standardized forms, and will notify the U.S. Coast Guard of same immediately.
1) Reef deployment may only be undertaken on weekdays (Monday through Friday). Reef builders will have ten (10) weekdays to deploy a reef or reefs after receiving a permit, after which the permit must be revalidated. Under certain circumstances, special deployment provisions (such as minimum depth) may be added to the permit by the inspector.
2) Vessels transporting permitted artificial reef material shall depart the dock and deploy said material only during the hours of one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Return travel (empty) from the deployment site is allowed during darkness. Should prevailing conditions prevent the deployment of all permitted materials during the prescribed time frame, the permittee is allowed to return to port with remaining reef materials, providing the permittee must notify the US Coast Guard Command Duty Officer, MSO Mobile (251-441-5121, VHF channels 16 or 23). Following such an event, the permittee must contact the Marine Resources Division for permit revalidation.
3) Deployment on days or times other than those listed above will require a bond approved by the Department.
4) Reef material(s) permitted as a functional unit, but later separated and deployed individually, shall invalidate the permit.
NOTIFICATION OF COMPLETION
Within two (2) weeks of permit expiration, the builder must file a Notification of Completion (incorporated in the permit form). A new permit will not be issued until ADCNR/MRD has received from the reef builder a properly executed Notification of Completion for the previous reef-building permit.
Artificial Reef Law
Enrolled An Act,
HB - 62
Relating to artificial reef construction in the offshore waters of this state; to provide for certain notification, permitting, and bonding requirements, to provide for certain penalties, and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. (a) Before any person, firm corporation, or association constructs or attempts to construct an artificial fishing reef in the coastal waters of the State of Alabama as defined by Section 9-710, Code of Alabama 1975, or waters approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers adjacent to or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama as defined by Section 9-7-10, Code of Alabama 1975, and transports or attempts to transport material from which artificial reefs may be constructed through the waters of this state, the person, firm, corporation, or association small have the material inspected and approved by and shall obtain a permit from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, or any agency designated in the future by the division, the cost of which shall be twenty-five dollars ($25) per reef and shall be credited to the Marine Resources Fund. Materials are limited to those permitted under The Standard Operating Protocol for Artificial Reef Construction through the Marine Resources Division of the department. An operator of a vessel loaded with material which is to be used in construction of artificial fishing reefs, or the operator of a vessel towing or pushing a vessel loaded with the material, shall have in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit when transporting the material through the waters of Alabama. The operator of a vessel registered in Alabama shall have in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit when depositing the material in an area approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjacent to the coastal area of Alabama or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama. The term "vessel", as used in this Section includes any watercraft or barge used to transport materials for the construction of artificial reefs.
(b) Any person, firm, corporation, or association cited for not having in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit shall be required to immediately return to the dock. Failure to do so shall be considered a separate violation of this section.
(c) Vessels in transit through the waters of Alabama are subject to inspection of the reef material by authorities including, but not limited to, the U. S. Coast Guard, Alabama Marine Police, or the Marine Resources Division, when transporting material through the waters of Alabama. Vessels registered in Alabama are subject to inspection by authorities when depositing or attempting to deposit material in an area approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjacent to the coastal area of Alabama or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama regardless of whether vessel traveled through Alabama waters.
(d) Vessels and vessel operators transporting permitted artificial reef material shall notify the Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in advance of deployment reporting the time of departure front the dock, destination, and estimated time of arrival at destination. Vessels shall also file a float plan at least one day in advance of deployment in accordance with the Standard Operating Protocol for Artificial Reef Construction through the Marine Resources Division of the department.
(e) Any person, firm, or corporation depositing unpermitted reef material or permitted material in areas other than those designated by the Corps of Engineers shall be in violation of this section. The deposit of the material must be witnessed to support a conviction for a violation.
(f) The Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources may require a bond in an amount sufficient to protect the interest of the State of Alabama payable to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the event of a violation of the permit. The bond shall be issued by a licensed bonding company approved in advance by the department.
(g) Any person, firm, corporation or association violating this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Section 2. The provisions of this act are severable. If any part of this act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, that declaration shall not affect the part which remains.
Section 3. Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621 because the bill defines a new crime or amends the definition of an existing crime.
Section 4. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.