John Shell – Eagle Reef Project

Each year, the PEP Board of Directors honors a Community Partner, an entity or an individual that has truly impacted Coastal Alabama’s sustainability and resiliency. PEP’s 2022 Community Partner Award goes to John Shell, a Boy Scout in Troop 147 in Mobile, Alabama. The Eagle Reef is John’s Eagle Scout project, and his initial goal was to raise funds to deploy 100 mini reefs across coastal Alabama to help clean our water and improve the fish and crab population along our coastlines.

The reefs are 4 feet by 3 feet, made of lightweight material and placed under any pier or dock. The reef floats up and down with the tide and, once loaded with oysters, barnacles, and other filter feeders, will filter and clean 1.1 million gallons of water annually. Additionally, each mini reef acts as a nursery and grows 200 fish and 300 crabs annually. 

The reefs will be deployed across coastal Alabama, including Dog River, Fowl River, Dauphin Island, Orange Beach and Perdido Bay. The reefs can thrive anywhere south of Fairhope and are especially effective for filtering water in areas with a limited tidal flow, such as the canals of Ono Island, Dauphin Island and Orange Beach.

To date, John has raised funds for 175 reefs and is organizing volunteers to help assemble and deploy the reefs. He is also seeking an individual or organization to continue the project after he completes his original reef goal and earns his Eagle Scout Award. When these initial 175 reefs are deployed, they will filter over 1.9 billion gallons of water annually!


Partners for Environmental Progress meeting Thursrday, Sept. 29, 2022, at the McQueen Alumni Center in Mobile, Ala. (Mike Kittrell)

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