Military armor being added to S.C. reefs
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that it plans to sink 36 surplus armored personnel carriers at two artificial reefs along the coast Thursday.
The vehicles from the S.C. National Guard, cleaned of possible pollutants and stripped of weaponry, will be added to two existing reefs – the Betsy Ross Reef and Eagles Nest Reef off Beaufort/Hilton Head.
The state’s artificial reef program dates to the 1970s, when old tires were used to create a reef 3 miles off Garden City, a project championed by the late Herb Forester of Myrtle Beach, a Wilkes County native. The National Guard has been a partner in the program with the SCDNR since 1997.
Artificial reefs greatly enhance sportfishing by providing a place where fish gather to feed, find shade and get relief from hard bottom. Large numbers of big flounder are being caught at some reefs off the coast of both Carolinas. The structures attract a wide range of species.
In addition to anglers, the reefs increasingly are attractions for sport divers.
Reefs now cover approximately 20 square miles of ocean floor off South Carolina. Tom Higgins
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen the Wildlife Management Institute to review its experimental red wolf restoration program in Eastern N.C. The evaluation is to be completed by Oct. 10 and used to help determine the project’s future, which could include continuation, modification or cessation.
• Linda Pearsall, a life-long conservationist and architect of partnerships benefiting wildlife, has received the prestigious Thomas L. Quay Award from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Named for a late, highly respected former professor of zoology at N.C. State and an environmental activist, the award is bestowed on those making outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity.
Pearsall, who retired this year from the N.C. Natural Heritage Program in Raleigh, helped conserve thousands of acres at areas such as Chimney Rock, Grandfather Mountain and the South Mountains Game Lands.
Catches of the week
• Blue marlin boated and released during the same trip by Matt Springs and Thomas Pope while trolling off Garden City, S.C., aboard the Big Sky with owner Jim Johnston and mate Matt Springs.
• A 75-inch, 140-pound tarpon at Oak Island Pier by Dale Patterson.
• A 45-pound, 9-ounce cobia at Oak Island Pier by Roberta Grove.
• A 40-pound wahoo off Ocean Isle by Richard Suh, 13.
• A flounder of 6 pounds, 9 ounces in the Ocean Isle area by Clay Morphes.
• Flounder of 5.7 pounds and 5.4 near Ocean Isle by Dr. Jeff Walker.
• A cobia of 401/4 pounds off Ocean Isle by Carlton Pittman of Raleigh.
• Sailfish boated and released off Hatteras Village by Austin Allen of Midland and Mark Driver of Monroe.
• A 40-inch red drum at Hatteras Village by Barbara Oxendine of Winston-Salem.
• A blue marlin, two white marlin and two sailfish during a trip off Oregon Inlet by a party fishing from the private boat Carolina Time, skippered by Shane Brassord and based at Pirates Cove Marina in Manteo.
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