Protect Manatee Habitat in Florida

manatee

Target:Southwest Florida Water Management District Advisory Committee Member Lou Kavouras

Goal: Protect vital manatee habitat by preventing a reduction in flow to Florida’s Homosassa and Chassahowitzka Rivers.

Manatees are one of the most well-known and beloved aquatic animals in the waters around Florida. Gentle giants, these animals are found within shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays and canals. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most recognizable members of the endangered species list, suffering tremendous population depletion due to habitat loss, as well as other human factors such as entanglement in fishing and trap lines, boat propellers and also drowning within canal locks and other flood control structures. Due to these factors, there are estimated to be fewer than 5,000 of these animals alive in the wild.

Because of this, every possible effort must be made to protect these animals and what precious little environment they have left. Sadly, this would not be the case if Florida’s Southwest Water Management District’s Governing Board is allowed to continue with its planned reductions in flow to the spring-fed Chassahowitzka and Homosassa Rivers. These rivers comprise an essential freshwater manatee habitat that is already suffering from environmental degradation even prior to the proposed changes going into effect. This area must remain intact as it offers manatees a life-saving thermal refuge during the winter months when Florida’s gulf waters become too cold for them.

Despite this fact, the Southwest Water Management District’s Governing Board could potentially approve a nine percent reduction in flow to the Chassahowitzka and a three percent reduction in flow to the Homosassa. While these amounts, especially the later, may sound trivial, it is estimated that such a reduced flow would result in over a fifteen percent reduction in habitat within each of these ecosystems.

That is entirely unacceptable. Manatee habitat has already been reduced tremendously, pushing these animals closer and closer to extinction. The time has come to put an end to this and begin preserving what little habitat they have left.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kavouras,

Despite being one of the marquee representatives of Florida’s marine wildlife, manatees continue to be faced with the threat of extinction. As has been occurring for decades, these animals are suffering tremendously from habitat loss as well as other human factors, such as entanglement in fishing and trap lines, boat propellers, and have also suffered from drowning in canal locks and other flood control structures. At this point, these factors have all led to the manatees reaching a stage where there are estimated to be fewer than 5,000 of these animals alive in the wild.

This means that every possible effort must be made to protect manatees as well as what remains of their severely depleted habitat. This necessary dedication to protecting manatee habitat would not be served, however, if Florida’s Southwest Water Management District’s Governing Board is allowed to continue with its planned reductions in flow to the spring-fed Chassahowitzka and Homosassa Rivers. These rivers comprise an essential freshwater manatee habitat that is already suffering from environmental degradation before the proposed changes. This area must remain intact as it offers manatees a life-saving thermal refuge during the winter months when Florida’s gulf waters become too cold for manatees.

This is why the Southwest Water Management District’s Governing Board must not approve the intended nine percent reduction in flow to the Chassahowitzka and three percent reduction in flow to the Homosassa. While these amounts might seem trivial, it is estimated that such a reduced flow would lead to a greater than fifteen percent reduction in habitat within each of these ecosystems.

The time has come to curtail the habitat destruction that has been plaguing manatees for decades. Steps must be taken to protect these animals and this includes stopping the intended flow reductions to the Chassahowitzka and Homosassa Rivers before it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. They have the right to their home too!!

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