WANTAGH, N.Y. — Barges dumped old rail cars into the Atlantic Ocean as part of New York’s efforts to build artificial reefs that attract fish and divers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke Wednesday from the stern of a moving boat as barges began to drop steel rail cars that weighed as much as 21 tons off Long Island’s Jones Beach.
"The artificial reefs help Long Island in so many different ways; they help with shoreline erosion, they help with the ecology, they help with fisheries, they stimulate tourism," Cuomo said. Fishing is not just a great hobby, it's also a great economic development tool. Tourism is a great economic development tool. And these artificial reefs, our children will thank us for them years from now."
Some of the 75 donated cars sank into the nearby Hempstead Reef. Others are headed to the state’s other 11 artificial reefs in hopes of stimulating fisheries.
A decades-old state program has used everything from tug boats to materials from the demolished Tappan Zee Bridge to create reefs.
The artificial reef expansion is part of New York's plan to develop a stronger and more diverse marine ecosystem.