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“ Florida’s Manatees Are Dying at an Alarming Rate “
Posted by: btfc
Date: June 19, 2021 06:47PM
‘ Florida’s manatees are dying in droves. So far this year, a total of 782 manatees died between January 1 and June 4, according to a recent report from the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That’s more than ten percent of the docile marine mammal’s entire Florida population, which has come back from near extinction, reports Johnny Diaz for the New York Times.
Last year, Florida lost 637 manatees, a total that 2021 has well surpassed barely halfway through the year. At this rate, 2021 will likely see the highest level of manatee mortality since 2018 when 824 individuals were recorded dead.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, tells Derek Hawkins of the Washington Post. “I think it’s fair to call it a crisis. It’s not hyperbole when you see hundreds of manatees dying like this.”

Experts say the likely cause of the die off is starvation. The bulbous, slow-moving mammals need to eat large quantities of seagrass to survive and that critical food source has been virtually erased by years of pollution. This pollution comes primarily in the form of nutrient runoff from fertilizer as well as leaks from sewers and septic tanks. Excessive levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can fuel runaway blooms of algae which can in turn smother the seagrass. ‘

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Re: “ Florida’s Manatees Are Dying at an Alarming Rate “
Posted by: Speedy
Date: June 19, 2021 08:02PM
Farm the seagrass. Never mind, it’s Florida.

Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: “ Florida’s Manatees Are Dying at an Alarming Rate “
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: June 20, 2021 07:35AM
The loss of Seagrass has been an issue for at least the last 25 years. I've watch "cures" be tried ranging from vacuuming, to farming, to transplanting - all failed. Water has become so silty that it settles on the grassbeds and smothers it. That which does grow gets eaten faster than it can replenish.

Finally, it is political and has been since the 80s'. Manatees may be the darlings of some but not of the powerful recreational boating industry. They have done everything possible at both the state and federal levels to quash Manatee protections. At one point, the leading Manatee advocate in the US Fish and Wildlife expert was not only transferred to an office with no manatee oversight, he was given the job of reading newspapers and clipping out stories.

I fear with have passed the tipping point in saving the wild populations. The SE Florida (Miami/Keys/Ft. Lauderdale), along with the St. Johns populations are essentially lost. The longest-lasting will be the Big Bend population reaching from Tampa bay north to the panhandle. That area has the least human population to interfere, but it is also the most condensed with the majority gathering in just a few locations - namely the TECO power plant outflow in Tampa Bay, and Crystal River. Those are the warm water locations in winter. Without those, the Manatees die from cold stress. Crystal River has always had seagrass issues due to the large population eating it. The Power Plant is in the process of being retired which may end its usefulness.

“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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