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No More "Save The Manatee"????????

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Old 10-25-2005, 02:00 PM
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Default No More "Save The Manatee"????????

This could be good news for Florida Boaters:
This article is from todays: St. Petersburg Times

Proposal threatens manatees, protects docks
By PATRICK ROSE
Published October 24, 2005

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As if the passage of a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., virtually gutting the federal Endangered Species Act wasn't bad enough, it also included a poorly drafted and hastily written amendment spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, to exclude the endangered manatee from protections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Conservationists are alarmed, as the last-minute amendment provided no opportunity for public testimony. They say the amendment was evidently designed to strip manatees of critical protections that were vital to the recent adoption of federal sanctuaries and refuges in areas of historically high manatee mortality and injury.

Under Putnam's amendment, if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service performs an ESA consultation with a federal permitting agency on dock building projects that could affect manatees, the consultation will be considered the equivalent of an incidental take authorization and will allow projects that would likely hurt or kill manatees to move forward.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act extends additional protections beyond the ESA to endangered marine mammals to assist in their recovery to sustainable populations.

Specifically, Putnam's amendment means that any individual dock permit can only be denied if that particular dock would jeopardize the entire population of manatees, even though the dock's construction and subsequent use by boats would likely lead to more manatees being killed or injured by boat collisions.

Conservationists say the introduction and passage of Putnam's amendment is a blatant attack on manatees, especially since boat strikes continue to be the largest known cause of manatee deaths in Florida.

More docks are being built in Florida than at any time I can remember, and very few dock permits have been denied. Even so, Putnam has been working with the Florida Marine Contractor's Association to eliminate protections for manatees afforded them under the existing MMPA.

The contractors group filed a lawsuit last year against the service alleging that the MMPA did not apply to Florida's inland waters. They wanted to get their permits to build docks and marinas without having to worry about how many manatees their boating activities would kill, so long as each dock would not cause the manatee to become extinct.

Earlier this year, the judge in the case ruled that the MMPA did, indeed, apply to the inland waters of Florida. The conservation community expressed astonishment that President Bush's Department of the Interior argued the MMPA should protect manatees in Florida waters during the court case, but then did a complete about-face and supported Putnam's legislative amendment.

With development profits skyrocketing from waterfront property sales in recent years, the battle to protect the manatee versus developing what is left of Florida's coastline has heated up. In some cases, individual docks built over public lands have been sold or conveyed for more than $1-million. Developers and the marine industries are eager to ensure manatees do not get in the way of their modern-day gold rush.

The practical effect of the Putnam amendment is a legal sanction to injure or kill a manatee during dock building or associated boating activities.

With the House of Representatives' passage of the Pombo bill that repeals protections for endangered species' critical habitat, and the removal of manatees from the protections of the MMPA, the prospects for recovery of the manatee look grim.

Private property rights issues have largely driven the revision of the ESA. The great irony is that manatees are found over publicly owned submerged lands, the water bottoms of rivers, estuaries, and bays. These lands, like public parks, are managed by the state in trust for all the people, not just dock builders who seek to profit at the public's expense.

Almost everyone agrees that imperiled species should be protected when they inhabit public lands, but the manatee has been scapegoated. The Putnam amendment is really about sacrificing manatees for the huge profits of a few.

If this bill becomes law, it is certain to thoroughly undermine any gains that have been made under the ESA and MMPA during more than 30 years.

--Patrick Rose is the director of Government Relations for Save the Manatee Club. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do no necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

What a moron. When did building a dock kill a manatee? Somebody drop a piling on it's head... Also, boats continue to be the largest cause of death?
Boating related deaths account for 20% and many of those can't be verified.
Spend the time and energy eliminating the causes of red tide and then you'll save some manatees.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

Great News!!
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

Quote:
Originally Posted by salesmanship
What a moron. When did building a dock kill a manatee? Somebody drop a piling on it's head... Also, boats continue to be the largest cause of death?
Boating related deaths account for 20% and many of those can't be verified.
Spend the time and energy eliminating the causes of red tide and then you'll save some manatees.

Terry,
Well said! And of the boats that are hitting Manatees, they are BIG BARGES AND TUGS!
I hope this passes! I live on a "FEDERAL MANATEE Refuge"
PHUCK Jimmy "Stuff-it" and the $MC!
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

I'm going on two years with my dock permitting. Turtle grass, manatees, turtle nesting ground and dock lighting, you name it they have come up with it. I even was going to pay mitigation fees for a permit. Hopefully will have one by years end.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

** whoops, should've read the whole thing first. The author is a moron.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

Do manatees really taste like chicken?
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Old 10-25-2005, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

About friggin time. The government has kissed the $MC's azz for far too long as it is. It's about time that people have some rights to enjoy the water too.
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Old 10-25-2005, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

The ESA has been outdated for years. This is just a "Common Sense" correction to the ESA.
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Old 10-25-2005, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: No More "Save The Manatee"????????

I thought that they were getting over populated anyhow.
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