Skip to main content
Home Conservation Front

Saving Marine Habitat

surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 6,022 Admiral

For immediate release                                                                                                                      

New database a powerful tool for saving marine habitat

Online dashboard provides critical information in efforts to turn platforms into reefs

 

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) rolled out a new online tool this week that should make it easier for anglers, energy companies and state agencies to reef obsolete platforms and related structures in the Gulf of Mexico where they can continue to serve as valuable marine habitat. The powerful new dashboard will be open for public use and follows up on a promise made by the agency to provide stakeholders a way to better understand which structures may make the best candidates for reefing. Ideally, the dashboard will provide information on specific platforms that are greatly valued by anglers, divers or other stakeholders in order to promote reefing options with the structure’s owner.

“The technology unveiled by BSEE this week is really impressive and represents a tremendous amount of work by the agency. We are grateful to Director Scott Angelle and his team for their work to find workable solutions to the challenges of the Idle Iron Policy,” said David Cresson, executive director of CCA Louisiana. “As we have discovered in years of working to protect that priceless habitat, the issues are extremely complicated and details hard to come by. The new online tool is a great step to streamlining the process and helping to keep more of that structure in the water.”

The vast network of energy platforms in the Gulf of Mexico forms what is widely regarded as the largest man-made reef in the world, but due to a variety of liability issues and environmental concerns, federal regulations known as the Idle Iron Policy require that energy companies decommission the structures if they are unused for a period of years. Concerns over the loss of that priceless marine habitat have mounted in recent years as the pace of removals has increased while little new structure has been placed.

“Anglers often have a favorite platform or structure that is particularly productive that they have visited for years, and then between one trip and the next it disappears. To see what is obviously a thriving habitat removed suddenly is a very distressing thing to conservationists,” said Ted Venker, conservation director for CCA. “This database developed by the agency will allow anglers to know exactly where a structure is in the process. Not every structure is a good candidate for reefing for a host of different reasons, but now the angling public will be able to identify particularly significant ones and explore ways to save them as reefs if at all possible.”

“Decommissioned rigs already support a vibrant and thriving reef ecosystem so we’d like to see them reefed when it can be accomplished in a safe and environmentally friendly manner,” said CCA Texas Advocacy Director Shane Bonnot. “Having this tool is a game changer for anglers and state reefing programs to work with federal regulators and identify the platforms that are important to them for ecological, economic or recreational value.”

After a series of workshops and meetings with stakeholders in 2012, BSEE issued new policy guidance that encouraged the use of obsolete oil and gas structures as artificial reefs, and provided greater opportunities for reefing by adjusting a number of regulations. The policy reduced the five-mile buffer zone between reefing areas to two miles, allowed for reefing in place when appropriate in Special Artificial Reef Sites or SARS, and provided for extensions to regulatory decommissioning deadlines for companies pursuing a "Rigs to Reefs" proposal. The policy also stated that the use of explosives on platforms that are proposed for reefing will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but will not be approved if analysis determines their use will cause harm to established artificial reef sites and/or natural biological features.

To view the dashboard, visit www.bsee.gov/what-we-do/environmental-focuses/decommissioning/offshore-infrastructure-dashboard.


Tight Lines, Steve
My posts are my opinion only.

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.  Will Rogers

Replies

Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now