OUC’s donation of 354 pieces of concrete bin blocks and pipes weighing nearly 400 tons (about 800,000 pounds) are ready to be sent to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean where they will create the Starship II Reef . OUC, the Coastal Conservation Association, Building Conservation Trust, Volusia County and Shell USA, Inc. are partners in the artificial reef project.
Transported on a 120-foot barge, the concrete and 25 tons of granite, the latter donated by Shell, will be deployed 2.75 miles offshore from Volusia County’s Ponce Inlet’s Lighthouse Point Park on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. The materials will create a habitat that will attract and sustain a wide variety of fish, shrimp and crab species for decades.
Boaters interested in viewing the making of the reef should leave Ponce Inlet at 9 a.m. and head to approximately 29° 07.276’N, 80° 53.316’W.
The concrete slabs and pipes, some bearing the OUC logo, and granite blocks were loaded Wednesday and Thursday on a barge parked in OUC’s private canal across from its Indian River Plant in Brevard County. A tug operated by McCulley Marine Services will deliver the barge to Ponce Inlet on Saturday, then procced to the reef site.
OUC inherited hundreds of concrete structures that were left on the construction site of its net zero St. Cloud Operations & Maintenance Center. But instead of having them dumped in a landfill, OUC found sustainable uses for them. In 2019, 400,000 pounds of concrete were repurposed as ballast in the sinking of a cargo ship off the coast of Fort Pierce, OUC’s first partnership in an artificial reef project. In March 2022, OUC donated 50,000 pounds of precast underground utility junction boxes to St. Cloud Fire Rescue to be used in confined-spaces training.