Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2013


In recent years there has been a mixed review on the success of artificial reefs and their effects on the environment. The design, application, and management of these reefs vary according to the reefs purpose. An example of contentious use of material for artificial reef is scrap tire. Scrap tires have been used around the world to construct artificial reefs. However, information on the environmental impacts of tires in the marine environment has been very limited. Osbome Reef in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has been a controversial artificial reef for decades. The reef was built from the wreckage of a 60-foot barge, tires bound by steel clips and nylon ropes, and concrete ero-jacks. With time, the steel clips and nylon ropes failed resulting in the drifting of the tires. These “rogue tires” have were blamed for the destruction of surround natural reefs. Blue Water Initiative (BWI) is a South Florida based non-profit organization, which aims to remove rogue tires from Osborne reef. BWI began to tackle the problem that has been ignored for so many years by conducting their first tire retrieval pilot project in May 2012. Before BWI, several attempts were made to address the issue, notably those made by the US military and NOVA Southeastern University. In 2012, BWI selected a small site in Osbome Reef and tires in this site were extracted using lift bags. The data collected during this project were stored in and analyzed using geographic information systems (GIS). It is hoped that the analysis of the data will be helpful in subsequent permit applications for additional sites for tire extraction and the planning of a more efficient tire extraction project.


Department: MAF

MPS Track: Marine Conservation

Location: Blue Water Initiative

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