Subway Cars Recycled as Artificial Reefs in New Jersey
Trenton, NJ— The New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection dropped a fourth round of 50 subway cars at the Garden State
North Reef Site for use in the state’s artificial reef program.
The decommissioned subway cars are part of 250 acquired from the New York
“Our artificial reef program provides tremendous
benefits to fishermen, divers, and our shore economy,” said DEP
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. “As a pilot project, research
at reef sites that include these subway cars will enhance our understanding
of marine ecosystems.”
Past studies of artificial reefs suggest that subway
cars may be colonized by up to 200 species of fish and invertebrates.
Reefs have 800 to 1,000 times more biomass than open ocean. Artificial
reefs can also form important nurseries for juvenile fish.
DEP deployed the first 50 subway cars at Cape May Reef
on July 3, followed by 50 cars at Deep Water Reef off Ocean City on July
16 and 50 cars at the Atlantic City Reef on July 25. The remaining 50
subway cars will be allocated to the Shark River Reef off of Monmouth
The 1.1-square mile Garden State North Reef Site is approximately
6.5 miles offshore from Harvey Cedars in Ocean County and currently is
comprised of almost 37,000 cubic yards of vessels, tanks, specially-designed
“reef balls” and other materials.
Since 2001, NYTA’s artificial reef program has
deployed over 1,000 decommissioned “Redbird” subway cars at
reefs in Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. NYTA bears all
costs associated with cleaning the cars and transporting them to the reefs.
Each Redbird car is approximately 51 feet in length
and nine feet in width and height. Prior to deployment, NYTA strips each
car of all tanks, plastic, degradable materials, and grease to avoid contamination
of the marine ecosystem.
DEP has formed an independent committee to oversee a
multi-year monitoring program at the subway car sites that will study
water quality, fisheries and biota, and the durability of the reefs. The
committee will convene early this fall for an initial review of the subway