- Dear Colleagues,The article below was printed in The Daily News (in the U.S. Virgin Islands) on Saturday February 17, 2007.I am sure there are many examples of artificial reefs that were constructed using different materials. Please share any study or report you may have on the subject.Regards.Lloyd.Tire reef in Fla. seemed like a good idea at the time; now it's a disasterFort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP)A mile offshore from this city's high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million old tires, strewn across the ocean floor - a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.The tires were unloaded there in 1972 to create an artificial reef that could attract a rich variety of marine life, and to free up space in clogged landfills. But decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life."The really good idea was to provide habitat for marine critters so we could double or triple marine life in the area. It just didn't work that way," said Ray McAllister, a professor of ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University who was instrumental in organizing the project. "I look back now and see it was a bad idea."in fact, similar problems have been reported at tire reefs worldwide."They're a constantly killing coral-destruction machine," said William Nuckols, a coordinator for Coastal America, a federal group involved in organizing a cleanup effort that includes Broward County biologists, state scientists and Army and Navy salvage divers.Gov. Charlie Crist's proposed budget includes $2 million to help gather up and remove the tires. The military divers would do their share of the work at no cost to the state by making it part of their training.A monthlong pilot project is set for June. The full-scale salvage operation is expected to run through 2010 at a cost to the state of about $3.4 million.McAllister helped put together the ill-fated reef project with the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He helped raise several thousand dollars (the county also chipped in), organized hundreds of volunteers with boats and barges, and got tires from Goodyear.