WHAT: Reef Balls very large (350 750 pounds each), round artificial reefs are being built by 4-H youth that will be sunk in Sarasota Bay at the end of July. Bradenton-based Reefball Development Group is instructing and assisting the 4-H youth with this project.


WHEN: Friday, July 2


WHERE: South Down Inc. 1100 Central Ave, Sarasota, IN THE BACK LOT


9 10:15 a.m., 4-H youth & Reefball Development officials will put together the large reef ball molds


10:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. concrete truck arrives; concrete is mixed


10:30 11 a.m. concrete truck dumps concrete into 24 large reef ball molds


5 6:30 p.m. reef balls will be taken out of the molds




WHY: The 4-H team hopes to defray destruction to Sarasota area reefs, and encourage better fishing opportunities in Sarasota Bay. The reef balls are made of specially treated concrete that has a lowered pH balance of 7, the same as seawater. Altering the pH balance will help the fish and underwater plants to accept the reef as a part of their natural habitat.


FUNDING: Five personal watercraft manufacturers Bombardier Recreational Products, Kawasaki Motors Corp., Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., Arctic Cat, Inc. and Polaris Industries, Inc. donated funds to pay for materials and equipment related to the project. Personal watercraft will also be used to deploy the reef at the end of July. Because of their design and capabilities, personal watercraft are better suited to release the reef balls than traditional motorboats. There is less chance that the reef balls will be damaged, and they provide more maneuverability for the 4-H youth.