DMF seeks public input on Bayview reef
Area residents, commercial fishermen, boaters and others will have the opportunity next month to weigh in on plans to further develop the Bayview artificial reef.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking public input on plans to expand and enhance the reef which is about 1 1/2 miles southeast of the mouth of Bath Creek in the Pamlico River, one-half mile from shore. The division will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. March 16 at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Washington Regional Office, 943 Washington Square Mall, Washington.
“I know the people want to be a part of the development of this reef,” said Jim Francesconi, the division’s director of artificial reefs, on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the division wants to hear from fishermen and others regarding the types of activity that occur in the reef area. Crabbing and gill netting practices and recreational fishing and boating activities are of particular interest to the division.
The 17-acre reef consists of 28,000 tires functioning as reef material. A similar reef is located in Pungo Creek near Quilley Point. It has 19,200 tires.
“A lot of the local fishing community desires an enhancement,” Francesconi said.
“This reef requires alternative construction material considerations because it sits on soft bottom. Thus, this reef is challenging, and construction, design and permitting of the site has been delayed,” reads a news release from the division. “In addition to new material types, an expansion into shallower water with firmer bottom is under consideration. The division is committed to finding a solution for the Bayview reef or finding a more suitable location in the vicinity of the existing reef.”
Francesconi said one alternative being considered is the use of concrete structures with legs. The structures would be submerged, with no parts above the water, he said. Other reef materials are under consideration, he said.
“We have to see what works,” Francesconi said.
An option to expanding and enhancing the existing reef is to develop a new reef at a nearby site, Francesconi said.
The division expects to design and construct the reef in two phases: a material testing phase followed by a construction phase. The division plans to use both existing state, federal and partnering funding to accomplish these goals.
The original permit for the reef was issued on Sept. 28, 1984, Francesconi said.
The application for the permit for this project is being reviewed by about 25 state and federal agencies, he said.
Among the funding sources for the project are the state and federal governments, Francesconi said.
Written comments about the project will be accepted through March 30 and may be sent by mail to: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Program, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or by e-mail to Jim.Francesconi@ncdenr.gov.