Jacksonville, FL: Kenny Chesney's love of the ocean, the islands and being out on the water inspired the Luttrell, Tennessean to get involved with the Coastal Conservation Association's project to place two man-made reefs in the heart of St John's River, less than half a mile from the downtown I-95 bridge. Teaming with the national Building Conservation Trust, Chesney's matching the funds raised to help CCA complete their project.
"When you can have a hand in stewarding the health of the ocean," Chesney said, "you're insuring the survival of something very necessary for all of us, whether you're a beach person or someone that won't go near the water. The ecological balance is very delicate, especially in Florida, so I am honored to help them achieve this goal."
The reefs - which will measure roughly 200 feet by 200 feet - will be composed of more than 30,000 cubic feet of concrete rubble. Less than a mile from the nearest boat ramp, Jacksonville University will spend the next two years studying the impact of these structures on the surrounding areas.
"The material is going to be carefully arranged so that there will be no issues with clearance from the surface, but there will be areas with three to four feet of relief from the bottom intermixed with open spaces to create an ideal habitat for fish," said CCA's local project spearhead Peyton Scheppe. "The area now is basically just an open sandbar so the transformation is going to be fascinating."
These reefs are easily accessible by small boats and will provide much needed habitat and improved fishing in this section of the river, which is approximately 20 miles inland from the Atlantic. Chesney explained, "Costa asked me what I wanted to do with the money raised through our sunglasses last year, and I told them I'd like what we do to be something that renews the waterways, so people can enjoy them the way so many of my friends and fans do. To protect the oceans, bays and rivers is our responsibility - and I'm glad we can make a difference in the St. John River."
Drawing inspiration from life on the water, the 8-time Academy of Country Music/Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year hopes to insure the future of the oceans and beaches. Earlier this year, Chesney donated a portion of the sales from Life On A Rock, his 7th Billboard Top 200 Albums #1 debut, to the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park to help defray the costs of nature preservation.
With his No Shoes Nation 2013 Tour, playing to over 1.25 million fans at 19 NFL stadiums, the man The Wall Street Journal deemed, "The King of the Road" is taking a hiatus before releasing his "Spread the Love" video, shot with the Wailers across historic Jamaica. The clip - along with downloads of the single track, unisex and girly t-shirts - support Chesney's Spread the Love Fund to benefit the amputee victims of the Boston Bombing.
"Just because I'm taking a minute to exhale before getting back to music," Chesney says, "doesn't mean I'm any less committed to the world I live in! In some ways, when I pause I feel even more connected - and certainly more able to invest in some of these projects that we might miss in the rush of all the business."