In one of the most compelling and unique habitat initiatives in recent history, the Starship reef combined the demonstration of a cutting-edge transportation technology with a vision for marine habitat creation.
This week, 1,500 tons of material, including materials that had been used in demonstrating Shell’s hyper-aerodynamic concept truck, were deployed this week as an artificial reef in the St. John’s River out of Jacksonville. The Starship Reef is the result of a partnership between Shell Oil Company, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) and CCA’s National Habitat Program, the Building Conservation Trust (BCT).
Through the implementation of a hyper-aerodynamic, class 8 concept truck, utilizing a variety of fuel-efficient technologies called the Starship, Shell Lubricants hauled about 40,000 pounds of limestone rock from San Diego to Jacksonville this past June.
“Through this road trip, we were able to test the Starship truck along with a number of technologies available today and provide insight into what trucking fleets and owner/operators could consider adopting to help reduce fuel use and emissions as they haul heavy loads,” said Carlos Maurer, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. “We were fortunate that our relationship with Building Conservation Trust and CCA Florida made the perfect load available – reef material – that helped us complete our cross-country drive and create a new oasis for ocean life off the Florida coast: the Starship Reef.”
Starship reef will be deployed within the boundaries of the Floyds Folly pre-permitted site at a depth of about 70 feet, just over 20 miles southeast of the mouth of the St. Johns River. There, it will create new marine habitat in a popular angling destination off Jacksonville, Florida. This reef will serve as important substrate that will expand the marine ecosystem for a variety of sea life and provide an easily accessible recreation destination for coastal anglers in search of Flounder, Snapper, Gag Grouper and Black Sea Bass. The new reef will create sustainable live-bottom habitat where none currently exists and will attract and sustain a wide range of fish, shrimp and crab species for decades.
“Shell Oil Company’s dedication to marine conservation has created a strong partnership that continues to benefit habitat and local communities time and time again,” said Pat Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “We are deeply grateful for their continued support and excited to see the vibrant marine life and underwater ecosystem created by the Starship Reef.”
The mission of CCA’s Building Conservation Trust is to provide vital funding for grassroots-driven projects that achieve one or more of five key objectives: Restore degraded habitats; Create new habitats; Advance the science of coastal habitat and marine fisheries conservation; Foster habitat stewardship; and Educate coastal communities of the value of conservation.