The Louisiana Artificial Reef Council met on Feb. 15, 2006 to discuss the status of the 166 offshore oil and gas platforms that were damaged or destroyed during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and their potential use in the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program.
The council requested that companies who intend to request to reef their hurricane-damaged platforms should submit proposals to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Platforms in the nine designated planning areas and those in water depths greater than 400 feet will be given first consideration. Those platforms located outside the designated planning areas will be considered as candidates for Special Artificial Reef Sites (SARS) and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
SARS are defined as those reefs that provide exceptional fishing opportunities and are created to take advantage of material available for construction outside the nine planning regions designated by the Louisiana Artificial Reef Council, while minimizing impacts on other user groups such as shrimping, navigation and other oil and gas interests. In order to begin proposal review before the next council meeting, proposals should be submitted by March 20, 2006 and address the following elements:
A) Name of Company
B) Location: X, Y coordinates, Longitude and Latitude, and Area and Block
C) Clearance and relief (suggested minimum 85 feet of clearance, 50 feet of relief)
D) Bottom profile and water depth
E) Condition of structure and list of potential hydrocarbons and hazardous materials associated with the structure
F) Justification for SARS creation: i.e. biological productivity, risk of complete removal, popular fishing or diving site, etc.
G) Would the decks be removed?
H) Miles from a fairway?
I) Maximum 4000 feet by 4000 feet permitted area for one buoy marker. Are there opportunities to place multiple platforms within the permitted area? (numbers and types of platforms to be placed)
J) Is the platform at least 1000 feet from an active pipeline? (500 feet within permitted area and the pipeline 500 feet outside permitted area)
Drawings and other pertinent information should be included.
Those SARS proposals that are accepted by the council will be announced through a department news release to solicit public input. If no objections are received, the appropriate permits will be applied for. In the event objections are received, a public hearing will be held to provide further information before final determination by the Council.
To submit proposals or for further information contact Rick Kasprzak, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70898 or call 225-765-2375 or email email@example.com.
EDITORS: For more information, contact Rick Kasprzak at 225-765-2375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.