SCDNR - News Release
February 7, 2005
(843) 953-9310

DNR Deploys Inshore Artificial Reef in Stono River

Map of Reef Site on  Stono River

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources' Artificial Reef Program is expanding its efforts by constructing inshore artificial reefs along the state's coast. The Stono River in Charleston County now boasts a new inshore artificial reef.

"The contractor called me Thursday afternoon to say that his tugboat became available for one day only, and was on its way with the barge full of reef units to the reef site," said Bob Martore, who coordinates the DNR's Artificial Reef Program. "He and his crew arrived at the reef site at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, and it took about two and a half hours to deploy the units."

DNR employees stayed out on the water until the job was done to make sure that everything went properly.

The Stono River reef site (32 40.417 N – 080 00.022 W) is located just upriver from the Sol Legare boat landing. The reef is rectangular in shape, and is 200 yards by 50 yards along the eastern river bank. It consists of 300 two-foot high concrete habitat modules coated with oyster shells in order to simulate natural development of an intertidal oyster reef. Two yellow reef buoys mark the outer ends of the reef site.

The DNR will monitor the new site to determine if this type of reef is an effective method to improve recreational fishing.

There are three other inshore artificial reefs in South Carolina. The first two were deployed on March 25, 2004 in Winyah Bay, and the third inshore reef was deployed on July 21, 2004 in St. Helena Sound.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gathered public feedback for the reef sites ahead of time to make sure residents and fishermen supported the idea.

"Public opinion has been very positive, especially from the various fishing clubs along the coast that wanted us to build an inshore reef in their area," Martore said.

Stono River Inshore Reef

The DNR maintains a very successful offshore reef program of 42 sites that provide habitat for marine fish. Using funds from the S.C. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Program, the DNR is expanding the reef program to inshore waters in order to provide inshore fishermen with better fishing opportunities along the coast.

The permits to build the inshore reefs in the Stono River, St. Helena Sound and in Winyah Bay were approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the S.C. Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

The success of the Winyah Bay and St. Helena Sound inshore reefs continue to be monitored.

"Fishermen began reporting good catches of inshore species like spot and croaker almost immediately, and we've gotten recent reports of increased sheepshead fishing in these areas as well. I expect the numbers of seatrout and red drum to also increase," Martore said.

The program would not be possible without funding and support from the Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Program. "These funds ultimately come from recreational fishermen who purchase a saltwater fishing license each year," said Robert Boyles, DNR's Deputy Director for the Marine Resources Division. "There is an increased focus on the enhancement of inshore habitat that is easily accessible by small boat anglers."

Lists of the current inshore and offshore artificial reef sites, structures and GPS coordinates, as well as information on using artificial reefs are made available to those who are interested in fishing or diving on the sites. For artificial reef locations and coordinates, photos of deployments, or for more information on the DNR's Artificial Reef Program, visit the S.C. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Web site at To receive over-the-phone information on the DNR's Artificial Reef Program, call the DNR switchboard at 843-953-9300.

- Written by Jennie R. Davis -