Artificial Reef Monitoring
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), reef monitoring is now a required component of any Florida artificial reef program. Monitoring includes recording the presence or absence of plant, invertebrate and fish species at a given reef site; measuring physical attributes, such as water temperature or subsidence of reef materials; and surveying reef use or determining the economic expenditures by anglers and divers who visit the reef.
At least half the nation’s human-made marine reefs are estimated to be in Florida waters. Monitoring, or evaluating reef performance and determining how well the reef meets the objectives for which it was created, has been a neglected subject in many areas of the world. Typically, reef site selection, permitting, materials selection and deployment take precedence over the task of reef monitoring. Now, it is just as important. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now requires reef monitoring as part of an artificial reef program (see reef permitting) So, no monitoring means no reef!
Basically, monitoring enforces accountability. Through careful observation, measurement and scientific observation (see reef surveying), we can determine the role and status of the reef system and changes over time.