Conservation and Advocacy

Boat Speed Zone Regulatory Sign for Manatee Protection

A waterway sign marks a boat speed zone for manatee protection.

Save the Manatee Club (SMC) has been part of the U.S. Manatee Recovery Team and has participated in drafting and revising the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan. Club staff also served on the state of Florida's Manatee Technical Advisory Council and make recommendations on many state and local task forces. In addition, SMC staff have reviewed plans, made recommendations and lobbied to implement manatee protection in Florida's "key" manatee counties. SMC has provided comments on permit applications for marine events and coastal development. SMC staff address manatee issues before Florida's Governor and Cabinet and state and federal regulatory agency heads. In addition, SMC continues to lobby for a strong federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.

As necessary, SMC also files legal challenges against projects that may have adverse effects on manatees and their habitat. SMC intervenes on the state's behalf when a boat speed rule is challenged. SMC has also challenged state and federal programs that were not strong enough to ensure adequate manatee protection and reached landmark agreements that will result in additional manatee protection measures. Through SMC's efforts, these agreements include the adoption of boat speed zones and manatee safe havens and the inclusion of important conservation measures as part of coastal development projects in Florida.

In addition, Save the Manatee Club has been heavily involved in water quality and quantity issues, including springs protection and restoration, as well as advocating for strong water quality standards to protect important manatee habitat. Club staff have participating in Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) development meetings to reduce nutrient loads in target springsheds; Minimum Flows and Levels (MFL) processes to set standards for the minimum water levels that are required to retain a system's ecological functions; and Surface Water Improvement Management (SWIM) plans to manage the conservation of priority waterbodies including first magnitude springs.

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