Enhancements To Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef

Gwynn Island Reef is located approximately 60 miles north of Lynnhaven Inlet.

The Coastal Conservation Association of Virginia and Maryland, non-profit organizations dedicated to the conservation of marine resources, recently partnered with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to improve the Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef Site, a popular fishing destination in the Chesapeake Bay.

The project involved deploying 54 reef balls and 250 pyramids, totaling more than 24 tons of reef material, onto the reef site, which is located about a mile offshore from historic Gwynn’s Island on the western shore of the bay, near the mouth of the Piankatank River. The reef balls were built by students from Chesapeake Academy, CCA Maryland members, and other community volunteers at Tackle Cove Outfitters on Virginia’s Northern Neck. The concrete pyramids were donated by Kinsley Construction in York, PA, and transported by the Ocean City Reef Foundation and Capt. Monty Hawkins.

The reef material will provide additional relief and structure to the site, which already contains a variety of structures, including concrete igloos and stacked tire units. The new material will create habitat for oysters and other marine life, which will in turn attract forage and game fish, enhancing the recreational fishing opportunities for anglers. The project was also supported by the Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat restoration initiative that funds projects on all three coasts.

The Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef Site is one of the many artificial reefs that VMRC manages in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The artificial reef program aims to create and maintain productive fishing grounds for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, as well as to mitigate the loss of natural reef habitat due to development, pollution, and overfishing. The artificial reefs also serve as research and education platforms for scientists and students to study the ecology and dynamics of the bay.

The Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef project is part of CCA’s Living Reef Action Campaign, a flagship habitat and education program in the Chesapeake region that since 2015 has engaged thousands of students and community members in hands-on experiences that inspire stewardship of the bay’s marine resources. CCA plans to continue working with VMRC and other state and regional partners to revitalize fish habitat and improve recreational fishing in the bay.

For more information about CCA, visit their website. For more information about VMRC’s artificial reef program, visit their website.

If you plan to trailer your boat, here are several boat ramps close to Gwynn Island Reef:

Gwynn’s Island Boat Ramp on Wharf Creek. It’s located off Route 233 next to Seabreeze restaurant in Grimstead, VA. This ramp offers a wide single lane ramp, courtesy docks, and about 21 boat trailer parking spaces.

Morningstar Marinas at 249 Mill Point Rd, Hudgins, VA, 230763. It’s a full-service marina.

Smith Point Marina at 989 Smith Point Rd, Reedville, VA, 225394. It’s located on the Little Wicomico River, just 5 minutes off the Chesapeake Bay where it is joined by the Potomac River.

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