Birds are already inspecting the islands even though they aren’t finished. Under the water the rocky base of the islands is teeming with fish. Eventually,
they’ll be green with grasses, mangroves and other vegetation while a natural ecosystem attracts everything from worms and shrimp to oyster larvae to
fish. Good fishing in the vicinity is expected. The man-made islands serve the dual purpose of wildlife habitat and protection from hurricanes.
Safe har bor
Islands to protect boats from foul weather
to be finished by hurricane season
BY SUSAN BURGESS
When Fort Pierce City Marina Manager Dean
Kubitschek talks about getting the marina back in
full operation after the 2004 hurricanes that took
out most of his docks, he glows with anticipation.
It’s not just the imminent prospect of new docks that makes
him happy. It’s that the 12 islands being built by the city for
protection of the waterfront against big storms are within
four months of completion; that they were chosen as a model
for other cities by the state, and on top of that, that they will
attract visitors of the human, marine and feathered kind.
“This is something we’ve developed and engineered, and
we’re going to be the future of waterfront protection for
cities,” he said. “These aren’t just for waterfront protection,
they’re also habitat for fish and birds. They will attract
tourists interested in birds, fishing and what we have
created here. “
The islands are created using long, fabric geotubes
that have been filled with sand. The geotubes conform to
the planned shape of each island. The tubes are close to
200 feet long in some cases and 40 feet around when filled.
Mesh frames filled with stone are set in place next. Then,
stone fills in the center of each island. Finally, high-quality
sand is placed over it and suitable plants and mangroves are
put into place. >>