Artificial Reef Materials

Materials that are allowed for artificial reef use are determined by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permit criteria and tend to emphasize heavy, stable, durable and non-polluting materials. These criteria are based upon requirements for the use of non-hazardous material of sufficient stability and durability to insure that the materials and their component parts remain within permitted areas and last long enough to provide the intended habitat enhancement.

DEP has specific materials limitations for artificial reef use in state waters. For example, in state waters of peninsular Florida, materials are limited to clean concrete or rock, clean steel boat hulls, other clean, heavy gauge steel products with a thickness of 1/4 inch or greater and prefabricated structures that are a mixture of clean concrete and heavy gauge steel. In state waters in the Florida Panhandle, allowable materials under the general permit are limited to clean concrete materials, rock, or steel boat hulls.

In the last several years there has been increasing use of designed modules. Though more expensive, they can be more effectively placed, designed to resist major storm events, target specific species or life history stages, and can serve as standardized units for follow-up Reef Monitoring or research (discover more about these module in Reef Design).

The Guide to Artificial Reef Materials can be found here: