No Shoes Reefs, a grassroots organization committed to creating healthier oceans and spearheaded by Kenny, joins forces with Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, Sandoway Discovery Center, Reef Ball Foundation, Building Conservation Trust and Global SubDive to deploy thirteen 10,000-pound goliath reef balls, about .5 miles off Delray Beach, creating “No Shoes Reefs 4.” This kicks off development for a 32-acre underwater reef park.
Global SubDive’s Go America vessel dropped the 7-by-6-feet reef balls, donated by No Shoes Reefs and Reef Ball Foundation, in the Delray Dredge Hole, the pre-permitted artificial reef site roughly 0.35-mile long by 0.13-mile wide. The reef site is located offshore just over 0.5 miles east of Delray Beach, Florida (26º 27.178/-80º 02.739). No Shoes Reefs 4 takes its name from the reef’s four partners – and will provide long-term educational opportunities for the students of Palm Beach County through the Sandoway Discover Center’s ongoing educational programs. These educational opportunities will necessitate an ongoing reef monitoring program. NSR4 will also provide a long-term economic boost for the County, as well as a positive impact on the marine species, tourism, and on the local fishing and diving community for many years to come.
“No Shoes Reefs is an extension of how I have tried to live for many, many years,” says Kenny. “Love the water, give back to the water. Many people don’t realize both how fragile and resilient the ocean’s ecosystems are, and I think it’s the small projects that raise awareness on local levels that help people understand the ocean is a living thing. Our partners have been so tireless in terms of raising money, awareness and doing the actual work – and it’s a wonderful way to build the No Shoes Nation community of people who care about the ocean, the beach and our whole way of life.”
This deployment will create a foundation for natural habitat development and also provide divers the opportunity to explore dozens of future underwater acreages. Once complete, the 32-acre artificial reefs will include countless paths for underwater enthusiasts to discover new marine habitats from unique seagrasses to variety of fish species.
“Improving and creating sustainable fisheries and protecting Florida’s marine environment is CCA Florida’s lifeblood,” CCA Florida Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus said. “We’re honored to be part of this reef project and partner with No Shoes Reef, as it’s a symbiotic relationship sharing the same goal – to improve our coastal environments and waterways for today and for generations to come.”
Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life, such as smaller organisms that are vital food sources for other marine species, with the overall goal to create an ever-evolving ecosystem while enhancing fisheries, improving water quality and providing new opportunities for local anglers.
No Shoes Reefs and Reef Ball Foundation donated the 13 reef balls along with four flatbed trailers to transport the Go America vessel. Funds were secured from proceeds of eco-friendly No Shoes Reefs products with partners Deep Apprel, SiliPint and RePatriot Flag. Additionally, CCA Florida secured funding from IMPACT100 Palm Beach County, earning a merit award in the Environment and Animal Welfare category and receiving $13,000 during the 2020 Grand Awards.