Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Manatee season officially began in South Florida on Nov. 15

Get ready for manatees to start showing up

By David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel

Manatee season officially begins in South Florida on Nov. 15, as boating restrictions take effect to protect the slow-moving marine mammals from being killed or injured by watercraft.

Manatees, which can't tolerate water below 68 degrees, swim south in the winter, congregating at warm springs and artificial refuges created in the discharge zones of power plants. Among the most popular, with several hundred manatees assembling at one time, are the power plants at Port Everglades, Riviera Beach and Fort Lauderdale, west of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Watercraft are the single biggest killer of the endangered marine mammals, with 73 dead so far this year. This year, three have been killed so far by watercraft in Broward County, one in Miami-Dade County and one in Palm Beach County. Last year the totals were two in Broward, two in Miami-Dade and three in Palm Beach.

Although some boat speed zones are in effect year-round, other are seasonal, running from Nov. 15 until March 31, when most manatees will have headed north where food is more abundant.

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!