The Buddy Ward Artificial reef will start becoming an actual reef starting next week.
Walter Marine out of Alabama will be in Franklin County around June 15th to place prefabricated articulated reef balls for the Buddy Ward Artificial Reef Project.
Walter Marine has the contract to construct and deploy 35 offshore artificial reef modules within a site named the Buddy Ward Memorial Artificial Reef in memory of longtime seafood industry advocate and businessman Olan “Buddy” Ward.
The modules are made of concrete and limestone in the shape of pyramids designed with window holes to accommodate fish hiding spots; they are also designed with turtle excluders.
The new reef is expected to attract a wide variety of fish such as grouper and snapper along with migratory fish like King mackerel and cobia.
The Ward reef should be particularly popular with local anglers because it will be relatively close and easy to access even inshore boats on calm days.
The Ward memorial site is located within State waters and in sight of St George Island, approximately eight nautical miles offshore in about 40 feet of water.
Once deployed, the Ward reef GPS coordinates will be online at the Apalachicola Artificial Reef Association website www.apalachicolareef.org.