Artificial reef construction has evolved from the 1970s when a variety of unstable waste materials were used. More recently, 3D printed molds have been used to provide a substrate that encourages reef creatures to attach to it. Many reefs use concrete "reef balls" that can be specifically designed to encourage oysters, soft corals, specific fish, or juvenile fish to populate an area.
Florida is one of two states that allow creation of artificial reefs by private persons or groups. Permits and funding are handled by several agencies including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The state's artificial reef section disperses around $600,000 every year to support artificial reef projects around the state.
Florida Sea Grant hosts regular artificial reef summits and workshops that attract participants who create and use artificial reefs.