It’s a condo boom for sea creatures as retired New York subway cars are being hurled into the ocean deep. The initiative, headed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, has deposited hundreds of the vacant vessels in an effort to jump start a new reef 16 miles off the state’s coast. The concept has already shown great promise, transforming “a barren stretch of ocean floor into a bountiful oasis, carpeted in sea grasses, walled thick with blue mussels and sponges, and teeming with black sea bass and tautog.”

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Coral reefs are currently facing a bleak future as trends in global warming and human activity threaten their existence. As ENN reports, “More people means more of everything that damages coral reefs, including fishing, sewage, coastal construction and human activities that contribute to warming oceans.” There have been many efforts to combat this decline by creating artificial reefs out of a wide range of substances. These structures are essential since reefs can’t spring up just anywhere and need to attach to some sort of solid surface.

Strange as it may sound, old MTA subway cars happen to make perfect starters for these underwater ecosystems. The undersea residences are 100% recycled, prefabricated, and the rent is right since New York is giving the cars away free of charge. The reef is currently composed of 714 cars and continues to grow, creating “a thriving community in what was once an underwater desert”.

+ New York Times

Photo credit: Tim Shaffer