Lake Okeechobee gets blessed with Reef Balls.

In the last thirty years of working around the Corps. of Engineers, I could count on one hand,  the number of their people that I found who were truly interested in helping the environment that they were placed in charge of. 

click on image for full size photoDoug Harter, biologist, for the Clewiston Florida Corp. of Engineers operation, is one of those to be counted. Doug is a very concerned individual when it comes to Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding environment. He has worked hard to make a difference in the lake. His pet project is his Reef Ball project. Working very closely with the Florida Wildlife Commission's Don Fox, Doug developed a project to place concrete Reef Balls in the lake at specific locations that would provide protective cover and feeding areas for the worlds biggest bass factory. The National Reef Ball Project is an organization that works with donations and contributions to build Reef Ball Projects in both salt and freshwater. Reef Ball is designed and distributed by the Reef Ball Development Group, Inc.

These are not just any concrete forms. The Reef Balls are made from recycled concrete that has been treated to remove any harmful elements from the concrete used. 

Reef Balls are made of a special, marine friendly, concrete and are designed to mimic natural reef systems, they are used around the world to create habitats for fish and other marine and freshwater species. Over 100,000 Reef Balls have been deployed in over 1,500 projects worldwide. Reef Balls are made in many sizes to best match the natural reef type which is being mimicked.

A stack of 100 reef balls wait for placment in Lake Okeechobee The Reef Balls will be placed in the lake at strategic locations that were determined by fisheries biologists to reap the maximum benefit from the reefs, comprised of 20 of the balls in each reef. Okeechobee will receive 5 reefs. Look at this map for placement locations and GPS co-ordinates for the reefs.

Doug Harter deserves a big "Thank You" from fishermen everywhere for his outstanding effort in getting the Reef Ball Project for Lake Okeechobee, off the ground and in the water. Doug is also working close with Don Fox of FWC, on the Berm Removal on the North Shore of the Lake. Maybe if the Corps of Engineers would hire more Doug Harters, they could start to eliminate the tarnished armor they wear.

by: Walt Reynolds

Bass N Edge