Next Up: Nuclear waste reefs
February 19, 2007 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Artificial reef off Fort Lauderdale coast now an ecological disaster. Then: A 1972 Goodyear news release proclaimed the reef would "provide a haven for fish and other aquatic species,' and noted the "excellent properties of scrap tires as reef material.' Now: "They're a constantly killing coral destruction machine."
posted by nevercalm (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
So let me guess- no one bothered to try leaving a used tire in an aquarium with appropriate sea life to see if they would actually try growing on it, right?

How wonderful that this plan was tried out across the globe before anyone bothered to see if it worked.
posted by yeloson at 9:58 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sweet Jesus!

A Goodyear blimp even dropped a gold-painted tire into the ocean at the site to commemorate the start.

It's like something from the Simpsons.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


we're all homer now.
posted by quonsar at 10:10 AM on February 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


This surprises me. The pile of tires in my front yard is growing all kinds of flora. I routinely discover any number of nesting rodents, snakes, flies, and fetid pools of rich animal urine within whenever I check. It's baffling that they would be such wonderful terrestrial fomites but not do the same in the sea.
posted by docpops at 10:11 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just dump gasoline in the ocean and light it on fire. Eventually the tires will burn up.
posted by Koko at 10:12 AM on February 19, 2007


As we live, we learn.
posted by boo_radley at 10:19 AM on February 19, 2007


Just dump gasoline in the ocean and light it on fire. Eventually the tires will burn up.

Finally, a solution we can all live with. Put another shrimp on the barbie!
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:19 AM on February 19, 2007


Put another shrimp on the barbie!

Won't the oceanic fire cook those, too?
posted by nevercalm at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2007


Some 70s scientist is probably saying "oh snap" right about now.

They also dump old trolley cars and the occasional aircraft into the water to create coral reefs. I think that the before & after studies of the trolley cars showed that they work a heck of a lot better than tires.

What a mess!
posted by drstein at 10:23 AM on February 19, 2007


Groan. People.
posted by Listener at 10:24 AM on February 19, 2007


That's helarious, the image of volenteers taking these old tires out there and dumping them. Heh.
posted by delmoi at 10:27 AM on February 19, 2007


Koko

This reminds me of that Futurama episode with the merpeople.

Zoidberg: My house! It burned down! How did this happen?!
Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: Oh, so that's where I left my cigar. (He picks it up and starts puffing on it.)
Hermes: That just raises further questions!
posted by Target Practice at 10:37 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gov. Crist oughta get ahold of klangklangston. he's always proposing to alleviate cold Michigan winters through public tire-fueled bonfires. Synergy!

Also, though others have noted above, Oh! The wonders of infallible progress through Science!
posted by beelzbubba at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2007


WHAT A COUNTRY
posted by 2sheets at 11:11 AM on February 19, 2007


Ray McAllister, a professor of ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University, was instrumental in organizing the 1970s tire reef project with the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"Professor of Ocean Engineering". Might as well try to engineer human souls. When will people learn the ocean is more complex than we can imagine and stop fucking with it?
posted by Rumple at 11:24 AM on February 19, 2007


I wish that the link to this article pointed to The Onion. Then it might be funny.
posted by ninjew at 11:30 AM on February 19, 2007


Bright Idea of Tire Reef Now Simply a Blight

Artificial reef made of tires becomes ecological disaster

Wikipedia

So let me guess- no one bothered to try leaving a used tire in an aquarium with appropriate sea life to see if they would actually try growing on it, right?

They do harbor sponges and barnacles, but as they came loose, they were too mobile for most sea life to use -- and they themselves became a hazard.

I wouldn't be too hard on people -- there have been artificial reefs since the early 19th century at least. This is something that really seemed like an easy win-win solution at the time, it just didn't work out. And now that we know that coral is severely endangered by global warming, it's become much more of a liability than anyone anticipated.

They also dump old trolley cars and the occasional aircraft into the water to create coral reefs. I think that the before & after studies of the trolley cars showed that they work a heck of a lot better than tires.

Yes, they do.
posted by dhartung at 11:38 AM on February 19, 2007


They also tried filling tires with cement. That worked but it turned out to be cheaper just to use cement...
posted by delmoi at 11:43 AM on February 19, 2007


The people in New Jersey had every reason to believe the cement would work. After all, the snitches they filled with cement and dumped in the sea usually stayed there.
posted by ninjew at 11:54 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


So. My idea of a reef made of used Chlorox and Lysol bottles is out?

Okay. Then howz about daycare centers made from old razor blades and discarded contaminated blood IV sacks?
posted by tkchrist at 12:03 PM on February 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Advocacy article referencing scientific information on the pros and cons of artificial reefs for both marine life and for enhancing SCUBA tourism.
posted by Rumple at 12:03 PM on February 19, 2007


Time to retread.
posted by three blind mice at 12:27 PM on February 19, 2007


They also tried filling tires with cement. That worked but it turned out to be cheaper just to use cement...

That was my favorite part, too.

It's like they thought their mission was to get tires to the seafloor at any cost.
posted by mrnutty at 12:37 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't believe the lack of a reefer madness here...

Anywho, all environmental whackos become jokes eventually. Just a matter of time...
posted by tadellin at 12:55 PM on February 19, 2007


posted by quonsar we're all homer now.

Indeed. It's the "D'oh!" heard 'round the world.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:21 PM on February 19, 2007


When will people learn the ocean is more complex than we can imagine and stop fucking with it?

I think we got a handle on the first one, the second one will never stop happening. There are dolphins that have autoimmune diseases very similar to AIDS, which have been linked to certain toxic dumpings in the ocean... After I learned that I really wondered for awhile if AIDS itself could have come about because of third world dumping/manufacturing, first through a SIV then HIV.
posted by edgeways at 1:31 PM on February 19, 2007


all environmental whackos become jokes eventually. Just a matter of time...

A little alteration for clarity there
posted by edgeways at 1:33 PM on February 19, 2007


There are dolphins that have autoimmune diseases very similar to AIDS, which have been linked to certain toxic dumpings in the ocean... After I learned that I really wondered for awhile if AIDS itself could have come about because of third world dumping/manufacturing, first through a SIV then HIV.

I think you're confusing something here. Viruses are not caused by polution.
posted by delmoi at 1:36 PM on February 19, 2007


posted by delmoi I think you're confusing something here. Viruses are not caused by polution.

Huh? File this one under, "When will people learn the ocean is more complex than we can imagine and stop fucking with it?"
posted by fandango_matt at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2007


The Ft.L reef tire reef was based on similar tire reefs that were successful in other areas of the country. For unknown reasons, the sealife did not respond to the tires in FL the same way they did further north and it was a disaster. The FL government should have tested the idea on a smaller scale before allowing the entire project to go forward.

I've been diving on that reef and it is terrible. It's like wasteland. The good news is that the state and feds are going to start cleaning it up. Here's an article that includes a link to a good video of the reef.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-ctires15feb15,0,4462531.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines
posted by trigfunctions at 2:18 PM on February 19, 2007


Viruses are not caused by polution.

Mutated viruses can result from mutagenic pollutants decreasing the fidelity of DNA and RNA replication machinery.

For example, a retrovirus can insert its genome into the host genome and lie dormant (lysogenic cycle).

Application of ethyl methane sulfonate, for example, applies random point mutations, some of which "hit" the dormant viral genome, changing it. Other mutation types are possible.

The mutant virus becomes active (lytic cycle) and replicates, spreading from one host to another.

Over time, selective pressure gives rise to a population of mutated viruses with different fitnesses.

I'm not claiming this is how SIV evolved into HIV, but pollutants could be a possible explanation for viral-induced autoimmune disorders, among other explanations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:22 PM on February 19, 2007


Viruses are not caused by polution.

No. But Godzilla was. And the Smog monster. And those giant ants. Oh. And the giant leeches. FUCKING GIANT LEECHES!
posted by tkchrist at 2:35 PM on February 19, 2007


This can be worked out. Having been involved in these sort of reclaimation projects my entire life, I can safely say that tires and reefs are NOT mutually exclusive, and I know of several areas right down here in the keys where they ARE working.

The trick? Believe it or not, it's in the stacking.

When friends and I come across failed tire situations in the waters here off of Key West, we extract the tires from the bottom (except the individual tires that are successfully being utilized by other lifeforms, and build singular "tire temples" (wide) and "tire towers" (tall). And voila! In no more than a month, serious habitat.

What we have learned at this point, several years into our finding these areas and re-habilitating them, is that it is important to bind the tires together. And there is never a shortage of line in the water around here, usually from "ghost" crab traps that destroyed and abandoned from past hurricanes.

The problem here is that it was essentially just a garbage dumping of spare tires. Not smart, but very salvageable.
posted by mongonikol at 2:39 PM on February 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Viruses are not caused by pollution.

Similarly, mosquitoes are not caused by pools of stagnant water.
posted by flaterik at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2007


Huh? File this one under, "When will people learn the ocean is more complex than we can imagine and stop fucking with it?"

The scientists didn't say the virus was 'linked' to pollution, the reporter did, by mistake. The scientists speculate that the pollution might have weakened their immune system, making them more susceptible to the virus. But they didn't say the virus was caused in any way by the pollution.
posted by delmoi at 3:01 PM on February 19, 2007


What an incredibly poorly thought out plan.

Maybe we can float the tires to the surface and then sell them to Japan at a huge markup like the sunken trees?
posted by fenriq at 3:23 PM on February 19, 2007


Metafilter: FUCKING GIANT LEECHES!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:51 PM on February 19, 2007


Maybe we can float the tires to the surface and then sell them to Japan at a huge markup like the sunken trees?

We could paint them to look like whales...it just might work. Ooooh, or someone could start an intarweb story about how ground up used tires, when smoked, make your penis longer, thicker and more resilient to ... er, performance issues. Yeah. We could save tigers, whales, and the ecology in one swell foop.
posted by dejah420 at 5:55 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


We could paint them to look like whales...it just might work. Ooooh, or someone could start an intarweb story about how ground up used tires, when smoked, make your penis longer, thicker and more resilient to ... er, performance issues. Yeah. We could save tigers, whales, and the ecology in one swell foop.

posted by dejah420 at 7:55 PM CST on February 19


Anyone who's ever been to a drag race knows how that one's gonna turn out. A big stinky mess, with a lot of dumb people milling about.
posted by ninjew at 8:53 PM on February 19, 2007


next time, they should use seacrete!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seacrete
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:02 AM on February 20, 2007


When will people learn the ocean is more complex than we can imagine and stop fucking with it?

Wow. You should kill yourself now. Before you effect the world.
posted by srboisvert at 1:46 AM on February 20, 2007


Relax, everyone! The continued melting of the polar caps will almost certainly lead to a dilution of the toxic chemicals from the tire reef.
Problem solved!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:28 AM on February 20, 2007


This is something that really seemed like an easy win-win solution at the time, it just didn't work out.
posted by dhartung at 2:38 PM EST on February 19

Feb. 30, 2006
St Petersberg, Fla---Residents here in St. Pete were groaning under the ever growing burden of NASCAR Collectable Popcorn Tins. "You just can't throw them away! They're too valuable," Becky Barefoot, owner of Hands of Glory nail shop and beauty salon, was overheard to remark. Many collectors, frustrated by the amount of storage space the tins required, turned to eBay for a quick fix and were alarmed to discover that no one in the nation wished to purchase used popcorn tins. Some people even attempted to return the tins to WalMart claiming that they were duped by the word "collectable" into purchasing more popcorn tins than they required.

The situation seemed hopeless until 11-year-old Barry Farker of Sandy Pirate Cove Elementary School proposed a novel solution. "We could tie them together and make shelters for the homeless. Popcorn tins would be better than cardboard boxes any day of the week. And the bums could eat the popcorn crumbs when they get hungry."

Wildly enthusiastic about this novel approach to solving two problems at once, the city fathers have begun a NASCAR Collectable Popcorn Tin drive and the construction of the new habitats will begin shortly. Readers wishing to donate to this worthy cause may contact city hall.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:09 AM on February 20, 2007


Ye Gods, that was brilliant.

I don't have time to google, and I truly hope you were kidding.
posted by nevercalm at 10:37 AM on February 21, 2007


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