map of experimental reef

Map showing the locations of the experimental artificial reef off San Clemente, CA and nearby natural reefs at Dana Point, San Mateo and Barn. Numbers in the inset represent the locations of the seven clusters of eight modules.     

The primary objective of the experimental phase was to determine the types and configurations of reef material that had a high probability of providing adequate conditions for establishing and sustaining a kelp forest community capable of meeting the performance standards established for the mitigation phase. The Final plan for the experimental phase of the SONGS artificial reef requirement that was approved by the California Coastal Commission consisted of an artificial reef located off San Clemente, California that tested eight different reef designs, which varied in substrate composition (quarry rock or recycled concrete), substrate coverage (17%, 34%, and 67%), and presence of transplanted kelp. All eight reef designs were represented as individual 40 m x 40 m modules that were replicated in seven areas (i.e., blocks) for a total of 56 artificial reef modules totaling 25 acres. SCE completed construction of the experimental reef on September 30, 1999.

Final Plan


Experimental reef concrete module. Photo: Richard Herrmann

rocks with a starfish

Experimental reef quarry rock module. Photo: Richard Herrmann