FPL and St. Lucie County creating artificial reef

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - FPL is upgrading it's power poles in St. Lucie County.

"We're in the process of removing 25 square concrete power poles and replacing them with more storm resilient poles, " said Jackie Kingston, Environmental Project Manager at FPL:

The construction is ongoing along I-95 near Midway Road.

The 350 tons of debris will be not be taking up space in a landfill, rather, it will be providing habitat for marine life as an artificial reef off the St. Lucie Coast.

There will be 25 poles spread out over the ocean, along with other construction debris, in an area the size of a football field wide, piled 30 feet high in the middle.

Coastal Resources Supervisor Jim Oppenborn says, "This reef will be a complex reef, a bunch of different niches, and habitats for different fish species, juveniles as well as adults. Not only the fish species that are at it but we have a number of benthic invertebrates, or Benthos, that are going to cover the reef and it's going to become a full living reef, not just a bunch of concrete."

St. Lucie County is leading the way for other counties to follow in the state.

Kingston says, "Right now we've only partnered with St. Lucie County but we've been actively in discussions with other counties who are interested in taking our materials so that's something that we are looking into right now."

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