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Mermaid sculptures to help restore South Florida reefs

Mermaid sculptures to help restore South Florida reefs
Mermaid sculptures to help restore South Florida reefs 03:09

MIAMI - It's mermaids to the rescue, and there are sculptures that are part of the 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project. 

"We place sculptures to help draw in the public to use our art as a problem solver to get people to care about the issues plaguing our coral reefs," said Evan Snow.  

He is co-founder of Ocean Rescue Alliance which created the project.

He told CBS4 that a total of 20 of these sculptures and other modules will be placed in the water off Hollywood Beach.  

Heather is a professional mermaid and diver.  

She is thrilled to know help is on the way.

"To be able to bring the reefs back to life and have modules that we can continuously watch grow is just an amazing opportunity," she said. 

Shelby Thomas is a scientist and co-founder of Ocean Rescue Alliance.

"One of our main issues really plaguing our coral reef ecosystems is the disease called "Stony Tissue Loss Disease" amongst others," Thomas said.

The plan is to use these sculptures and modules to help restore South Florida Reefs. 

Thomas tells us they've been hit hard by Stony Tissue Loss Disease.  

She's looking to see if dredging may be part of the problem. 

"If you think about it, you're disturbing sediments that have been settled for hundreds of years.  You're also disturbing bacteria and microbes that have been settled for hundreds of years. That hasn't been present in the water column," Thomas explained.

Once these sculptures and modules are underwater, coral fragments will be placed in small holes that are all over the modules.  "We can directly place them onto the base of this artificial reef to allow us to out plant more of these coral fragments, super corals which are proven to be the best chance, best breakthrough to save our coral reefs," Snow said.

They also give a safe harbor for smaller sea life. 

"They provide a lot of fish habitat so juvenile fish can seek protection from predators to they have a better chance to grow to adulthood and restocking and replenishing fish populations and fish counts," Snow said. 

The plan now is to place the mermaids and modules off Hollywood Beach sometime in August.  

Meanwhile, they're on display at City Hall, Arts Park, The Hollywood Band Shell on the Beach, and Driftwood Community Pool. 

To find out more about the project, click here.

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