• Sherry Fyman

The best idea ever? Or maybe not.

Updated: Jul 26, 2018

Just about every Sunday during the summer I ride my bike up Rt. 9W from Manhattan to the small village of #Piermont in #RocklandCounty. It’s a lovely and tranquil ride. It takes me 2 hours or so to roll into Piermont, I get a bagel at #BunburyCafe and then head for one of my favorite places in the world….. the pier at Piermont. It’s really heaven #NewYorkState



See what I mean?

As you might guess, sitting on bench on a long pier has given me plenty of time to watch what has been going on 4 or so miles north of my bench -- the replacement of the old #TappanZeeBridge with a brand new one. This was no small feat. The bridge spans the Hudson River at it's second widest point and it's close to 3 miles long. The new Tappan Zee Bridge is one of the widest cable-stayed bridges in the world and one of the longest cable-stayed spans in the nation. So what could be more complicated than building this engineering marvel? Well, perhaps demolition of the old bridge. Take a look at this video if you would like to see what taking down a huge bridge is all about. #bridgedemolition #bridgelovers


What to do with the tons of concrete and steel that made up the old bridge? Some parts will go to recycling centers and scrap yards, others are being repurposed and sold to other Departments of Transportation of infrastructure projects. Parts of the old bridge will also be used to build up six of New York State's twelve artificial reefs. And here's where it gets interesting. When I first learned about repurposing the remnants of the old bridge to build up artificial barrier reefs it sounded like a fantastic idea. Joe Paradiso, president of the New York Sportfishing Federation, enthusiastically supports the idea. The underwater structures attract sea bass, fluke, porgies, blackfish and turtles. Bill Ulfelder, executive director of the #Nature Conservancy in New York and himself a scuba diver, is all in favor of using the debris from the bridge for artificial reefs, "The more we can do to clean the water and improve the wildlife brings back all the things people love abut Long Island." #reclying #reefs #sportsfishing


First of all, what's an artificial reef, anyway? They are underwater manmade structures that mimic the characteristics of natural reefs. The creation of artificial reefs is a response to pollution and climate change. Baby corals (polyps) need a hard substrate on which to attach themselves and grow. Sinking materials into the ocean can encourage recruitment and coral growth by giving them more opportunities to settle. Over the course of months and years, the corals grow, attract fish, and create a new and healthy marine environment. But controversy exists over artificial reefs because if poorly constructed, they can just be dumping junk in our waterways. #corals #polyps


Sometimes, the best intentioned ideas can go terribly, terribly wrong. Take the two million tire dump off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Since the 1970s the tires have failed to provide a congenial habitat for coral growth and the rubber has begun breaking off. Getting rid of all that rubber is quite a job.


Artificial reefs have been built all over the world with wildly imaginative designs and exciting results. #IslaMujeres


Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary



Part of an underwater sculpture called "The Silent Evolution" by artist Jason de Caires Taylor on the sea floor between Cancun and Isla Mujeres December 11, 2010.

So goodbye old Tappan Zee Bridge. Time will tell whether or not the repurposing of the remnants of the bridge will promote new sea life or if it will join the list of environmental debacles. I'll keep an open mind and enjoy the view.



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Urban Greenista:  

 

Urban: lifelong New Yorker - that's the urban part.

Greenista: passionately committed to healing our earth and reducing my carbon footprint.  Most errands, commuting and shopping I do on my bike; I bring in my own coffee mug when I have coffee out; I compost and recycle; I am co-owner of Sunrise Lane Products

 

I look forward to the day when the United States will once again rejoin the Paris Climate Accord!