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Texas's Forgotten Artificial Reefs: Six Great Photographs

For the past 30 years, the Texas Artificial Reef program has been adding reef sites throughout the state's waters, with 68 reef sites in the Gulf of Mexico ranging from 40 to 360 acres in size.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department realizes most people haven't heard of the program. "The Texas Artificial Reef program has generally run silent and deep -- deep in its positive impact on marine ecosystems, recreational fishing and diving and coastal economies, silent because it's probably largely unknown to most people," TP&WD said this week.

The agency announced a plan to raise the profile of the program via some new Web pages dedicated to the artificial reefs that offer a comprehensive take on what's been going on.

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"Artificial reefs personify recycling Texas-style," TP&WD says. "The program focuses on three types of materials: decommissioned drilling rigs in the Rigs-to-Reefs Program; highway bridge materials and other types of concrete and heavy-gauge steel in the Nearshore Reefing Program; and large marine vessels in the Ships-to-Reefs Program."

The Web sites feature some gorgeous underwater photography. Check these out:

6. Looking for directions "Jay-sus, Maude, for the life of me I can't read your handwriting!!!" he's probably not saying. But he does look confused.

5. And if the real thing don't do the trick / You're gonna burn it into the wick Now won't you -- barracuda? Yeah, it sounds cool enough, but that song's been stuck in his head for 11 frickin' years.

4. Go to the light It's spooky down here.

3. We just love what you've done with this rig!! We might not personally have used so much pink, but hey, it's your rig, right?

2. What time is it? We have no idea, but we do know we're 157 feet below the surface! Does that help?

1. Casual Fridays Shorts and short sleeves. At least it wasn't Take Your Kid To Work Day.

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