SONGS coastal view

Mitigation Projects > Artificial Reef

Artificial Reef

forest of giant kelp by Ron McPeak
  Forest of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera.

The SONGS coastal development permit requires Southern California Edison (SCE) to select a site and construct an artificial reef large enough to sustain 150 acres of medium to high density kelp bed community together with funding for a mariculture/marine fish hatchery as compensation for the loss of 179 acres of high density kelp bed community resulting from the operation of SONGS Units 2 and 3. The reef is to be located in the vicinity of SONGS with the goal of replacing a minimum of 150 acres (= 60.7 hectares) of kelp forest community. Mitigation for losses of kelp bed resources through the construction of an artificial reef is being done in two phases; a 5-year experimental phase involving a reef that was 22.4 acres followed by a longer-term mitigation phase involving a much larger artificial reef, which when combined with the experimental reef, fulfills the 150-acre mitigation requirement. The purpose of the experimental phase was to determine the substrate types and configurations that best provide adequate conditions for establishing and sustaining giant kelp and other reef-associated biota during the mitigation phase. UCSB scientists working with the CCC selected the nearby kelp forests at San Mateo Point and Barn as reference sites for purposes of evaluating the performance of the different reef designs tested.