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Univ. Miami developing artificial reef modules to reduce coastal flooding

University of Miami researchers are developing artificial reefs to reduce flooding, create habitats for marine life and make Florida's coastlines more resilient.

Their inventors compare them to air bags or speed bumps in the sea. And they just might be the future of fighting coastal flooding in Florida.

They’re called Seahives, and they’re a new kind of artificial reef being developed and field-tested by researchers at the University of Miami. They’re 18-foot-long, hexagonal-shaped hollow tubes that get stacked in pyramid-like shapes on the seafloor just offshore. The 2,500-pound concrete structures are perforated to allow seawater to flow through them.

The goal of these devices is twofold: Dissipate wave energy and slow down potentially destructive waves before they hit the shore, while simultaneously providing a hospitable environment to grow corals or mangroves.

They’re designed to be a win-win: Reduce flooding, build habitat.

In March and August 2023, clusters of Seahives were installed at two pilot projects at Miami Beach and Pompano Beach, where they’re currently being studied and evaluated. Miniature versions had previously been tested successfully in a giant water tank, but this is the real thing.