Sea life already has ventured to the Matlacha Bridge Reef in Charlotte County waters, creating a great experience for interested divers.
Roger DeBruler Jr., Marine Resources Program assistant, said the coordinates for the Matlacha Bridge Reef are (latitude) 26 48.485N and (longitude) 82 19.602W.
"This project was sponsored by Matlacha Bridge Reef Project and completely funded by donations from local businesses and private individuals of Matlacha and Pine Island," he said.
DeBruler said the reef name was created at the time of negotiations with the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project last summer. He said that name has been recorded in his report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as the Matlacha Bridge Reef.
The reef is comprised of 32 pieces of the old bridge.
"The reef in oriented in a south to north direction from the coordinates approximately 200 feet in length and in 30 feet of water," DeBruler said.
The reef is open for fishing and diving, he said last week.
"I saw sheepshead, pinfish, greenbacks and a nurse shark on the reef," DeBruler said.
He said everyone he has talked to has shared that it is a great idea to reef these structures, so the public can utilize them, rather than having them disappear forever.
There are a few things for boaters to remember when visiting the reef.
DeBreuler said it is important for boaters to approach the reef area slowly when other boats are in the area. He said it is also important to make contact with other boaters before approaching the site.
Divers should practice a few safety measures when visiting the reef. DeBreuler said dive flags are a must. He said it is also important for divers to watch their depth sounders and stay close to their anchor site.
"Visibility can be poor at times with reefs near the passes, just check the local dive shops for conditions," DeBrueler said.
Tina Bush, a member of the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project, said as they progress into the summer and fall months of 2013, they will share some exciting announcements and plans to promote the new reef that the community made happen.
"In the next few months, we will be filming the first dive of the Matlacha Bridge Reef and promote fishing and diving at the reef site," she said.
Bush also wants to wish people luck when fishing.
"Happy fishing to a community that truly makes things happen," she said.
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