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Old 10-22-2006, 10:46 AM
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Boaters kill Brevard record 18 manatees

Slow speed zones still controversial

BY JIM WAYMER

A record 18 manatees have died this year in collisions with boats in Brevard County.

Boaters say it proves that a series of slow-speed zones implemented countywide about four years ago don't work.

But manatee advocates say boaters who still speed through the zones are to blame.

The zones require most boats to slow down to 5 mph to prevent creating excessive wakes.

They follow swaths roughly 500 to 1,000 feet wide along most of the Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River.

They also go through Sykes Creek, in the Merritt Island Barge Canal and several popular water-skiing areas.

Boat strikes killed about one in every four of the 70 manatees that have died this year in Brevard, a proportion on par with the long-term average. About a quarter of manatee deaths in Brevard and statewide are caused by boat collisions.

Brevard's previous record was set in 2002, when 17 manatees died in boat strikes.

Nineteen died in Brevard this year of unknown causes. One died getting caught in the locks at Port Canaveral.

Fourteen died from birth complications or illness before reaching 1 year of age.

Stress from cold weather killed six, 10 died of natural causes, and two died of undetermined causes.

Statewide, 73 have been killed by boats, slightly below the average of 75 for the past 10 years, and 23 percent of the 314 total manatee deaths.

The state record of 396 came last year.

Brevard had the highest boat-strike manatee deaths this year, with Lee County's 16 being second-highest.

The latest numbers show slow zones don't reduce manatee deaths, said Tom McGill, a Merritt Island resident who unsuccessfully challenged Brevard's slow zones.

"They've increased the risk to manatees by putting in slow-speed zones," he said. "Even if I'm all wet, the numbers say they haven't done anything to help."

McGill says the zones put more manatees in boat paths because the animals lack the ability to hear the range of frequencies slow-moving boats emit. They hear faster-moving boats better and can evade them, he said.

Carol Knox, biological administrator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, countered that argument.

"Whether or not they can hear them better going slow or going fast, at the end of the day, if they are impacted by a boat, they certainly sustain less injury by one that's going slow than one that's going fast. That's just physics," Knox said.

She said the state is in the process of investigating the effectiveness of slow zones and fixing some improper signage.

"We are continuing to study it," Knox said. "We found that some of the signs that were posted were not posted quite right."

Now's the time for boaters to be especially careful, she said. Manatees are migrating to the warm water effluent from the two power plants near Port St. John.

"People should be more careful and comply with the zones," she said.

The zones' effectiveness lies with boaters, said Judith Vallee, former director and current development director for Save the Manatee Club, based in Maitland. "We depend on boaters to raise their own compliance, because most of the time they're not being watched by marine patrol," Vallee said.

She fears boaters will become more lax in complying with the zones because state wildlife officials earlier this year moved to lessen the manatee's status from endangered to threatened.

"This has been one of our nightmares all along," she said.

The state "downlisting," which could take effect as soon as next year, won't affect the federal listing. But Vallee worries that could be next, ultimately triggering a rollback of some slow zones.

Contact Waymer at 242-3663 or [email protected].



ONCE AGAIN I SAY, THAT NOT ONE RECREATIONAL BOATER I KNOW, AND I KNOW ALOT OF THEM IN THE 17 YEARS THAT WE LIVE HERE IN BREVARD COUNTY, HAS EVER HIT A MANATEE!!!! IT'S THE TUGS AND BARGES THAT KILL MANATEES!!
MEAN DEAN



A comment from Florida Today BLOG this morning!

"The speed zone expansion several yeas ago did nothing to increase protection of the manatee. Nor did the fact that I sold my boat and no longer use the waterways. Nor that I quit my job in commercial towing because of the tripling of time it took to get from one place to another due to the huge number of new slow zones.

No matter what they do, you will not reduce the mortality rate caused by humans until you get rid of the humans, period. Just like all the other wildlife in Florida declining due to the ever increasing development and human impact. The fact is, we will kill the lagoon with our runoff, kill our wildlife with our concrete and vehicle traffic. You people just can't have it both ways. You can't have huge population growth with its resulting habitat destruction and economic development, and still have the same wild spaces and animals. It's either / or... It's competition for resources and space, and humans and money will win every time, so the animals lose every time.

My family has lived in Florida for about 150 years and just in my 50+ years I have seen swamps filled, forests clear cut and concreted over, reefs die and crumble, fish diminish, waterways turn dark and polluted... And ever more people coming in... The only solution I can see to this, is outlaw air conditioning... I'm willing to bet the state population would diminish by two thirds the first summer... And the wildlife would thank you."
wjk


Pretty radical thinking!
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:42 PM
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But manatee advocates say boaters who still speed through the zones are to blame.
what a crock
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:11 PM
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Rat,
It's all that, and then some! The only reason Brevard County has so many Manatees issues, is because there are (2) Power Plants on ICW the Indian River, up near Titusville, that have all their fuel oil, BARGED up to them (26 miles 1 way), from the Port of Canvaral! That is where the majority of the Manatee injuried/dead Manatees are found,!!!!!!!! He!!, we don't use the barge canal anymore, the idle is 1.5 hrs to the Port!!
Plus, the fact the warm water discharges from the Power Plants, alters the Manatees wintertime southern migration, which in turns, exposes the Manatees to hyperthermia if they, (calves espeically) roam too far away in search of food in the wintertime! And the $MC is blaming it all on the RECREATIONAL Boater, because they think the power plants are good for the Manatees, and $MC can't take on FPL!

Anyway, thats ok, we went boating/tubing today, in the Seadoo jet boat, and had a blast! Hard as the $MC tries, they CAN'T stop us from Boating!
Yeah baby, I'm felling better, and headed to the TIKI Bar to have a Mich light!
BTW, how is the Mich. light project going?
Dean
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:47 PM
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Isnt it proven the the power plants are warming the surrounding water, causeing the manatees to stay they instead of migrating then eating thourgh all of their food source and dying of starvation???
So lingering manatees + big barges + lack of food=dead manatees. I dont see recreational boaters in that equations. Can somebody please beat some sense into these a$$clowns.
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:00 AM
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Call me an idiot(many have) but why focus on the 25%? Why dont they cure the 75% of the fatalities and leave us alone? This happened up in Flagler when they banned driving on the beach due to vehicles were the result of 24% of the yearly deaths that had occured of sea turtles.

I thought we lived in America, but like I said what the hell do I know?

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Old 10-23-2006, 06:11 AM
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Isnt it proven the the power plants are warming the surrounding water, causeing the manatees to stay.....
You're absolutely right.
If the power plants cooled the discharge water to match the surrounding water temp then they would go away and migrate to the south like they should.
There is a Florida law that says something about humans not being allowed to interfere with the manatee's natural habitat or migration patterns. Well the power plants sure have changed that rule.
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Old 10-23-2006, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Iggy
You're absolutely right.
If the power plants cooled the discharge water to match the surrounding water temp then they would go away and migrate to the south like they should.
There is a Florida law that says something about humans not being allowed to interfere with the manatee's natural habitat or migration patterns. Well the power plants sure have changed that rule.

The $MC has lobbied to pass a law in Florida , that mandates the power plants must RAISE the discharge water to @ Least 68 Deg in the winter time, if the Indian River lagoon drops below 68 Deg! The power plants actually have to heat the water, (at a cost to FPL/OUC customers) to keep the Manatees warm, during the few cold snaps we have during the winter months.

"Why dont they cure the 75% of the fatalities and leave us alone?"

Frank,
Another great point, why doesn't the $MC try concentrating on all the derelict vessels in Florida waters that are spilling hunderds of gallons of gas, diesel, and other chemicals into the water?
The fact is the $MC doesn't do rescues, they just sling lawsuits that keep them in their cushy, high dollar jobs.
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:23 AM
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http://www.monkeyspit.net/sites/manatee/recipes.html

Coming soon to a grocery store near you.
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:53 AM
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Let me ask the seacow huggers a question. If a herd of cows wandered onto I-95, What would you do? Slow the traffic to 5mph? Manatees are frickin' seacows. The WANT to be in the hot water runoff canals. Catch the damned things and put them there. Leave us a couple of rights, you introverted *&^%$#@s.
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by F1-00 Racing
Call me an idiot(many have) but why focus on the 25%? Why dont they cure the 75% of the fatalities and leave us alone?
One would think. But not the $MC....no, throw logic to the wind, target those evil boaters.

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