Florida Public Power Utility OUC Helps To Promote Ocean Conservation And Marine Life

Nearly 400 tons of concrete will find a new purpose in helping to revitalize marine ecosystems off the coast of eastern Florida after public power utility Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) recently donated the material to the Starship II artificial reef project in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Florida, Building Conservation Trust (BCT), Shell Inc. and Volusia County, Fla.

OUC on Aug. 21 transported the concrete from its Indian River Plant in Brevard County to Volusia County via barge.  It was subsequently deployed alongside 25 tons of granite donated by Shell at Volusia County’s newly permitted reef site, located about 2.75 miles offshore of Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet. Together, the materials were sunk to create a new habitat and refuge for marine life.

Concrete for the reef came from the site of OUC’s St. Cloud Operations & Maintenance Center, which is currently under construction.

This is the second reef created with concrete from the construction site. In 2019, 400,000 pounds of concrete were repurposed as ballast in the sinking of a cargo ship off the coast of Fort Pierce, OUC’s first partnership in an artificial reef project.

In March 2022, OUC donated 50,000 pounds of precast underground utility junction boxes to St. Cloud Fire Rescue to be used in confined-spaces training.

In a few months, the reef will create a live-bottom habitat that will attract and sustain a wide variety of fish, shrimp and crab species for decades, OUC said.