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Miami Wreck Trek Connectivity Project


Introduction:
The project to connect individual wrecks using limestone boulder material was initiated by DERM (Miami Dade Department for Environmental Resource Management) during 2009.  After discussions with Miami Dade Reef Guard Association the five wrecks collectively known as the Miami Wreck Trek were chosen as the location. 

During 2010 DERM submitted a grant request to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The grant is to place approximately 750 tons of lime rock boulders at two artificial reef sites in Miami-Dade County.  325 tons of boulders are proposed in Biscayne Bay at the Artificial Reef Site in Coconut Grove (15' depth) and 325 tons of boulders planned as a "connectivity" project offshore at the Belcher Barge Wreck Trek Site (70' depth) off Key Biscayne.  The goal of the project is to enhance both inshore, juvenile habitat and offshore habitat for adult species by using the boulders to "connect" the wrecks.

The grant has been approved and the first two connections between the Belcher Barge and the Belzona II and between the Belcher Barge and the Park/Schurger Barges have been complete as of July 2012.

The Wrecks:

Name Description Sunk Depth (ft)
Belcher Barge 195' steel barge Nov-85 58
Belzona I 85' steel tug May-90 68
Belzona II 90' steel tug Feb-91 60
Belzona III 100' steel tug Jun-91 65
H.A.V. Parker III Barge 120' steel barge Aug-98 70
Schurger's Barge 90' steel barge Oct-96 74

The Videos:

  • Belcher Barge
  • Parker/Schurger Barges
  • Belzona I
  • Belzona II
  • Belzona III

Notes:
1.The H.A.V Parker III Barge and Schurger's Barge are next to one another and are considered as a single wreck site for connectivity and fish surveys.

The Survey Data:
During 2010 Miami Dade Reef Guard Association in cooperation with DERM and The Reef Environmental Education Foundation - REEF have conducted two surveys of fish on the Miami Wreck Trek locations.  These surveys establish a base line data set of species and density before the connections are made.  It is believed that connecting the separate wreck locations will significantly improve the number and density of fish species by creating a reef large enough to support viable and sustainable fish habitats.  We expect to conduct further surveys once the connection material is in place.

The spread sheet showing data from all surveys can be downloaded here. (in Excel format).

The following table shows a brief summary of some of the data.

Category PSB
Aug-Dec
BB
Aug-Dec
BZ1
Aug-Dec
BZ2
Aug-Dec
BZ3
Aug-Dec
Species Count 45 - 53 48 - 41 35 - 30 40 - 34 41 - 32
% Many & Abundant 36%-33% 42%-37% 23%-32% 32%-29% 29%-16%

Notes:
PSB - Parker/Schurger Barges
BB- Belcher Barge
BZ1 - Belzona 1
BZ2 - Belzona 2
BZ3 - Belzona 3
Summary data from 'Expert' rated surveyors only.

The three small tugs consistently show significantly fewer species and lower abundance levels than the two large barge sites.

With the exception of the Parker/Schurger site the other four sites show fewer species in December than in August.

Miami-Dade Reef Guard
Association (MIRA)
5352 Pinetree Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33140
305-861-6277
email: info@reefguard.org

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