Punta Gorda Waterfront Juvenile Fisheries Habitat
AWARD STATUS: COMPLETED
The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association and its cadre of volunteers creatively formed habitat for juvenile fish. The Association is building “reef balls,” igloo shaped concrete structures, and placing them under fishing piers, fishing docks, and private docks in Charlotte Harbor. The artificial habitat is constructed from super-strong concrete perforated with holes placed to allow juvenile fish to move throughout. The artificial habitat provides juvenile fish a safe shelter from larger predatory fish and allows other estuarine life to attach and serve as food for a host of estuarine organisms. Mangroves perform this critical function, but they are too often removed or degraded in the wake of development. Although not ideal, reef balls help reclaim this lost habitat.
Through this project, members of the Association have placed 72 reef balls near Laishley, Gilchrist and Nature Parks and public fishing piers in Punta Gorda, 180 under private docks at Punta Gorda Isles, and 210 off Alligator Creek in Charlotte Harbor reef. They have also placed 250 offshore in Lee County in the deep waters off Cape Haze.
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program
Reef Ball Foundation
Charlotte Harbor Reef Association
Field of Focus:
Fish habitat creation
Study Site: Punta Gorda
Award Amount: $6,100
Award Period: 1999 – 2000
Keywords: Juvenile fish, Artificial reef, Reefball, Estuarine organisms