The county has been under mandate to develop a plan since 2006, when state and federal authorities halted issuing permits for boating slips on the Intracoastal Waterway, where seven manatees have been killed by boats since 2006.
Federal officials have revoked all boat-dock permits for non-residential homes in Flagler because a manatee protection plan and an additional speed zone are not in place.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering downlisting manatees from endangered to threatened, reducing their protective status. Save the Manatee Club’s Katie Tripp argues the proposal rests on too scanty data.
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported a preliminary count of 4,831 manatees in Florida during a statewide aerial survey conducted on Jan. 24 and Jan. 27. That’s the third-highest number of manatees recorded since such surveys began in 1991. No surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2012 because of unusually warm weather.
With two months to go in the year, 769 manatee deaths have bee recorded in Florida waters, breaking the previous record of 766 set in 2010. Deaths are blamed mostly on a red tide bloom that started in southwest Florida in September 2012 and that only recently dissipated. Four manatees have died in Flagler so far this year.
Manatees are experts at finding food and fresh water – they don’t need our assistance. Quite the contrary, they will do far better if we can give them a wide berth and keep our distance, writes Katie Tripp.
Three-quarters of the people who addressed a Florida Fish and Wildlife delegation on the proposed speed zones on the Intracoastal Waterway rejected the argument that manatees are endangered, or that further regulation is needed.
A cold-related die-off of manatees in early 2011 set the stage for a third straight year with high numbers of deaths for manatees, following a record 766 deaths in 2010 and 429 in 2009.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asked its staff to draw up a new compromise favoring Flagler County’s position on manatee speed zones on the Intracoastal, a significant defeat for manatee advocates.
Tuesday’s public hearing was the latest step in months of wrangles between Flagler County and the Fish and Wildlife Commission over manatee-protecting speed zones on about a third of Flagler’s 18 miles of Intracoastal.