Trash to treasure – debris to become artificial reef

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The city of Harwich, on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, now has the permits it needs to use at least 1,000 cubic yards of concrete from the former Harwich High School as an artificial reef in a 10-acre site in Nantucket Sound off Saquatucket Harbor, harbormaster John Rendon told the Cape Cod Times.

The road has been a long one, beginning when charter boat captains first contacted the state Division of Marine Fisheries more than a decade ago asking for help creating more bottom habitat in the Sound to attract fish their customers wanted to catch.

They had seen the success of an artificial reef off Yarmouth, constructed from discarded tires in 1978, in attracting species such as black sea bass, scup, tautog and a new southern species known as blue runner.

Yarmouth officials added to that reef in 1996 and want to do it again. They partnered with Harwich to obtain the permits the towns needed to add to the reef off Bass River and build the new one off Harwich.

"We have all the permits we needed in hand. Our next step is to find suitable material to put out there," said Karl von Hone, Yarmouth's director of natural resources.

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