Texas Landscape Project: Map of Artificial Reefs

Artificial Reefs

The Texas coast is proud to boast of the Flower Garden Reef, located 105 miles south of Sabine Pass, and known for 21 types of coral that provide nursery grounds and shelter for over 300 species of fish.

However, natural reefs are rare in the western Gulf of Mexico, and so there has been a diligent effort to build artificial reefs to improve fisheries. The Texas Game and Fish Commission began installing concrete pipe off the Galveston coast in 1962, and more ad hoc projects followed, with old refrigerators, shopping carts, automobiles and vending machines put into service underwater.

In more recent years, the Texas offshore region has become host to over 140 oil and gas platforms and numerous ships and barges, retired and recommissioned as new, large-scale undersea homes.

Selected sources:

Salcido, Rachael. 2005. “Enduring Optimism: Examining the Rig-to-Reef Bargain”. Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 32, p. 863.

Texas Parks and Wildlife. 2013. Artificial Reef Program Overview.