Guam Cocos Lagoon Abandoned Tire Reef Removal

A SCUBA diver swims over a very large pile of 2,482 tires all resting on the seafloor.

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency alongside many partners, will work to remove an artificial reef that consists of 2,482 tires located in Cocos Lagoon, Guam. 

Type of Project: Removal

Region: Pacific Islands

Project Dates: October 2019 - September 2021

Who is involved?
The Guam Environmental Protection Agency, with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Removal Grant, will work with the Guam Coral Reef Response Team, which includes the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans Coastal Management Program, Guam Department of Agriculture, University of Guam (UOG) Marine Lab, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM), National Park Service (NPS), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to remove an artificial reef from Cocos Lagoon. The tire reef, located in about 19.5 feet of water, is made up of 2,482 tires and sits on a sandy bottom. The reef is estimated to weigh about 16-28 tons and all collected tires will be removed using salvage efforts. 

What is the project and why is it important?
In addition to the removal of the tires, the project will also conduct environmental surveys of the reef before and after the removal efforts. The pre-survey will document current fish and invertebrates around the tire reef and also note the amount of current algae growth. 

They will also work to identify specific coral colonies that are suitable to be moved to an alternate location, called coral transplants. Only the transplanted corals will be monitored for growth, disease, bleaching, and mortality following their relocation. Lastly, the project will conduct outreach efforts to the local community to bring awareness to the marine debris issue.