Environment Group shares eerie photos of disastrous man-made reef off coast of Florida: ‘500,000 tires left sitting at the bottom of the ocean’

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The Osborne Reef is an artificial reef project situated off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was one of many attempts in the 1970s and 80s to mimic the environmental benefits of coral reefs using old tires, but it has become an environmental disaster.

In the years since, several groups — including the U.S. military — have attempted to clean it up.

Where did the Osborne Reef come from?

In the 1970s, a local nonprofit created the Osborne Reef by dropping more than two million tires into Florida’s coastal waters in an attempt to create an environment where marine life would thrive.

The project generated a lot of buzz. It was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the dumping operation was supervised by a U.S. Navy minesweeper. Goodyear, which provided many of the tires, even christened the reef by dropping a gold-plated tire into the ocean from the Goodyear Blimp.

In the years to follow, many of the tires — which were held together only with nylon rope and steel clips — came loose, making the “reef” useless as a habitat and, in some cases, damaging real coral reefs nearby.

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