Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 76 of 83 | 77 artificial reefs and the next summer, in August 2016, they deployed 100 more —50 pyramids and 35 custom-designed "Coral Heads." They also put down 15 prototype concrete block reefs. A few months later, in November 2016, they placed 15 "Lagoon Coral Head" modules at the Blue Heron Bridge Snorkel Trail at Phil Foster Park in Palm Beach County. To date, the Andrew "Red" Harris Foundation has 155 reefs deployed and another 134 under construction. "The Palm Beach County ERM staff has been instrumental in this whole process," Harris said. "They have guided me since day one and have been great partners. Their knowledge and expertise has really helped us to achieve our goals." If building reefs began an emotional healing process for the Harris family, it also had the side benefit of advancing the science of artificial reefs. Placing many of their reef modules on a site where an ancient natural reef once existed has been clearing the smothering sand from the underlying bedrock and re- exposing the natural sea floor. "It's more important where you build an artificial reef than what you build it with," Harris said. "And we think we have the best possible site: thin sand over flat bedrock in shallow water with good visibility. It's our hope that researchers use our work as a substrate for advancing the science of reef building." Already, a PhD at Palm Beach State College is forming a new curriculum to experiment with and study growth on the new reef, possibly aided in the future by electrical stimulation on some of the reef modules to stimulate coral settlement rates and enhance coral growth. It's no surprise that 100 percent of the money raised by the foundation goes to reef building. And, so far, they've brought in more than $900,000, some of which has come in the form of grants, fundraisers and donations of labor. For example, Palm Beach County pays for deploying the reefs, CCA and Building Conservation Trust have been major donors, Morgan and Eklund donated the sub-bottom survey, the Wantman Group donated the engineering and Kimley- Horn made festival display boards. Jupiter Dive Center has contributed funds and boats for deployment viewing. Of course, the Harris family itself has also been a major donor. "We're not just asking others to contribute, we are putting our own money and time in," Harris said. "It's important to us, and our community increasingly sees the benefits as our projects move from theoretical to actual and our dreams become real, even though the new reefs won't reach full maturity for a couple years." As the foundation continues to do good and do well, more positive things are happening. Now, country music superstar Kenny Chesney and his No Shoes Nation have pledged their support. Chesney has partnered with ENGEL Coolers to create No Shoes Reefs. The goals are to raise awareness and funding to protect precious coral reefs, which are vital for aquatic ecosystems to thrive. Limited edition "No Shoes Reefs" shirts and hats are available and a portion of the proceeds go directly to the Andrew "Red" Harris Foundation to assist in reef restoration and artificial reef deployment. "Our long-term goal is to honor Andrew's memory by seeing the foundation become a self-sustaining organization for building and advancing the science of artificial reefs," Harris said. Anyone interested can sponsor a reef module for $5,000 or an entire boulder pile reef for $20,000. Three of the boulder piles are going in this year. Contributions of any amount are welcome. For more info on the Andrew "Red" Harris Foundation, visit: | 77

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