An 80-foot barge and a 45-foot tugboat named Chickadee were "deployed" into the waters around Long Island this week to expand New York State's artificial reef system.

"These two vessels now have renewed purpose on the sea floor by establishing structural habitat, enhancing the marine ecosystem, and supporting recreationally and commercially important marine fisheries," NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

When vessels are purposefully sunk into certain waters, artificial reefs can be formed, helping marine life increase its biodiversity. The federal government's Marine Administration division notes that an artificial reef "provides hard surfaces to which algae and invertebrates such as barnacles, corals, and oysters attach; provides intricate structure and food for assemblages of fish; and can improve hydrodynamics for surfing and reduce beach erosion."

There are twelve artificial reefs in the area—two in the Long Island Sound, two in Great South Bay, and eight in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Long Island.

Barge 226 is now part of the Smithtown Reef, while the Chickadee, which was built by the Navy in 1948 and was used as tugboat for coal and oil barges, joined the McAllister Grounds Reef. All vessels are cleaned and prepared before being sunk into the water.

The NY State DEC explains, "Steel surplus materials are stable and durable reef-building material that provide shelter and forage opportunities for fin fish and crustaceans that inhabit these underwater structures, such as tautog, fluke, black sea bass, scup, and lobsters. Sunken vessels also attract Scuba divers that explore and photograph the underwater structures."

When a tugboat ("Jane") and a rail car were sunk into the Atlantic last year for the Hempstead Reef, Seggos said that tautog and porgy fish would first shelter there, followed by anemones, sponges, and mussels, then lobsters and crabs. Finally, dolphins, sharks, and striped bass will come.

Enjoy these videos of past artificial reef deployments and striped bass visiting one reef:

As for the 2,500 NYC subway cars that were dumped into the Atlantic in the 2010s, well, check out this turtle and its friends in Georgia: