Will Fish Find Home in Old Tires? Council to Hear Plan

A private company’s plan to build a 500- to 1,000-foot tire reef off Balboa Pier goes before the City Council today.

If approved, the Marine Forest Society would build an artificial reef intended to serve as a breeding ground to generate more fish for those who cast their lines from Balboa Pier.

The demonstration project, partly funded by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, would explore the feasibility of using 30,000 shredded tires to enhance the area’s marine habitat. No cost estimate for the project was available.


The group’s request for a permit also asks the council to find that no further environmental study is needed before proceeding.

The California Coastal Commission and the state Fish and Game Department have requested that environmental impact reports be conducted. The agencies, which have review authority over the project, are unsure that old tires are appropriate reef material.

The reef would be monitored for its impact on sea-dependent life, with criteria developed by officials from the Coastal Commission, the Fish and Game Department and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Reef builders would be required to immediately remove any tires that break free from the two 10-acre tire bundles and remove all the tires within 30 days’ notice if it is determined that “the project would result in any unanticipated hazards to public health, safety or navigation.”

The contract would also require the Marine Forest Society to do monthly inspections of the reef to make sure it is sound and to replace any worn rope bindings. The society would be required to put up enough financial security to guarantee proper collection and disposal of loose tires.