Somebody in Alabama knows how to make lemonade. The kind that could help save the planet, one glass at a time.
According to an article by Katherine Rodeghier, “the state dumped its obsolete voting machines a few miles offshore,” thus creating an artificial reef.
Wow! Way to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Now I had to know more about this project and how it came to happen. I mean, voting machines?
Somehow I’m guessing that a bunch of politicians did not sit down together and come up with the idea of dumping a load of outdated voting machines into the Gulf to create an artificial reef so that marine life would thrive and people could enjoythe sporting opportunities. Not to mention eating the tasty critters that live there.
No, and pigs still can’t fly.
After a little research, I can report that this win-win-win situation didn’t exactly happen that way. Big surprise there, huh?
According to a piece written by John E. Phillips, author of numerous hunting and fishing books, the idea dates back to a plane crash off of Orange Beach, Alabama, in the 1950s. A captain named Roland Walker caught some huge red snapper over the wreck.
“After a few state politicians fished with Walker, the state started an intensive reef-building campaign. Using funds from the Dingell-Johnson Act and state matching monies, AMRD (Alabama Marine Resources Division) sank 1500 car bodies out in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Fast forward to the 1990s and Captain Iris Ethridge, of Orange Beach, Alabama. She wanted to create a trolling alley close to shore and that required some sort of bottom structure to keep the bait fish there.
“A resourceful captain, this retired schoolteacher began to look for reef-building materials and came upon 124-obsolete voting machines weighing 830-pounds each. Working with county officials, she helped to obtain the voting machines to use them for reef material,” Phillips wrote.
The 1.5-mile long alley was completed in October 1997.
I just knew there was an interesting story behind the story. There usually is.
And here’s an interesting fact that I also found on Phillips’s site: “The State of Alabama has the largest artificial reef-building program in the nation.”
Never mind that the state only has 60 miles of coastline.
Way to go, Alabama!