During the 1970s, between one and two million tires were put in the ocean off Broward
County in an effort to create additional fish habitat. Over the years, many of the
tires were mobilized by tropical storms and hurricanes, the movement of which caused
damage to nearby existing coral reefs. The threat is serious, but the complexity and
magnitude of the challenge of removing these tires has prevented any individual
government agency from doing so.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program funded a reconnaissance project that was conducted in
August, 2006. The scope of work for this project included the development of a
potential strategy for removing and properly disposing of the tires. It was decided
that a pilot program was needed to test diver retrieval productivity, loading and
transportation methods, and tire processing and disposal.