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Manatee update, 1/16/03

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Old 01-16-2003, 11:42 AM
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Thumbs up Manatee update, 1/16/03

The 2003 Manatee aerial count # is in:
2,861 Total, East Coast of FL. had record count of 1,695, with great conditions for the count.
West coast count of 1,166, conditions weren't as good on the west coast for the count.
#1 Thing to remember here is that this is a MINIMUM # of Manatees counted! There are more manatees out there, that they are missing.

And of course this Manatee update wouldn't be complete without latest lawsuit manuvering by the $MC!

Manatee: Agreement nears between pro-manatee groups, Norton

Thursday, January 16, 2003

By JOAN LOWY, [email protected]

WASHINGTON Attorneys for environmental groups and the Interior Department said Wednesday that they're close to finalizing an agreement to drop contempt-of-court proceedings against Interior Secretary Gale Norton in exchange for more protections for endangered Florida manatees.

U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan gave the two sides nine more days to work out remaining details, setting a deadline of Friday, Jan. 24, for filing the agreement with the court.

Jean Williams, the lead government attorney in the case, said the principal remaining work is getting higher-level Justice officials to sign off on the agreement.

"We had hoped to have that today, but we are not quite there yet," Williams told the court.

But Eric Glitzenstein, an attorney for 18 environmental and animal-protection groups who sued the government for failing to protect manatees, cautioned that some issues being negotiated could hold up an agreement if they are not resolved.

"It's not just technical questions," Glitzenstein said.

Manatees, a docile marine mammal that have been listed as an endangered species since 1967, are especially vulnerable to death and injury from boat propellers. There were at least 93 manatee deaths in Florida last year resulting from watercraft collisions, a record. The previous record was 82 deaths, in 1999.

While details of the agreement are still confidential, two groups involved in the case the Humane Society of the United States and the Marine Industries Association of Florida said it entails expanding or creating additional manatee "refuges," where powerboats have to abide by speed limits, and additional "sanctuaries," where powerboats would be prohibited.

The new or expanded areas would be added to four Florida rivers: the Caloosahatchee on the Southwest coast, the St.

Johns on the Northeast coast, and the Tomoka and Halifax rivers near Daytona Beach.

Those would be in addition to 13 refuges and sanctuaries the government agreed to designate as part of a settlement reached with environmental and animal-protection groups two years ago.

The Interior Department missed two court-ordered deadlines for publishing descriptions of those 13 areas in the Federal Register as required by the settlement, prompting Sullivan to threaten in November to find Norton in contempt of court.

The latest agreement is the result of negotiations between environmental groups, who say the initial refuges and sanctuaries proposed by the government failed to include some areas with high manatee death and injury rates, and Interior officials, who are anxious to keep Norton from being found in contempt.

In September, another federal judge placed Norton in contempt over her agency's mishandling of $137 million in unaccounted-for funds in an Indian land trust.

Virginia Albrecht, an attorney for the Marine Industries Association of Florida, which represents marina owners, said her group opposes the latest agreement. But she declined to detail their complaints until the agreement is formally filed with the court.

Marina owners and other groups have long complained that restrictions on boating and construction of new slips, docks and marinas could hurt the economy in parts of Florida.


Doesn't sound good for the St. Johns River, Ft. Myers or Daytona Beach!

MD
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:52 AM
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OUCH!

Hmmm.. Haven't heard anything negative yet from Volusia county on the new marina site in Edgewater. Of course we haven't paid off the property yet either.
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:43 PM
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Sorry to hear that. Who is the big money behind the $MC? They can't have that much clout without some deep pockets to "persuade" the politicians, and of course pay all the lawyers. I would "think" there should be enough money in the boating crowd (big yacht owners?) to launch a suitable defense, but maybe they are all just going off-shore and have decided inland water only needs to let them get back to the dock ??

-Greg
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:52 PM
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Greg,
The BIG $$ behind the $MC $ 40 MILLION dollar warchest is ALL IT'S MEMBERS, like Jimmy "Stuff-it"!
BUT, you are correct in your assumpation that FL. Boaters seem to think that "Somebody else will take up the fight, there are so MANY BOATERS in FL., I don't have to get involved".
Boater's Apathy runs WILD here in FL.
MD
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Old 01-16-2003, 09:00 PM
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I was on the Manattee festival committee this past weekend. I loved it when the STM group showed up and began inflating there 20' manattee. The City of Crystal River told them that it violated there sign ordinance. They had to take it down.
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Old 01-17-2003, 07:48 AM
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FG,
That's too funny!

Found this on the FL. Sportsman website, in the Consversation Forum, on a Thread about the 01/03 Manatee count!

1/16/03

I think the entire issue is being eclipsed by the TV news media.
But thank God for them! As of the 6pm,cannel 20 news, one of thier investigating reporters uncovered the fact that a large section of Lee County,Florida had not been counted last Wednesday!!!
"By accident", two different counters thought the other had counted this area, but in fact, niether had!
Are you suprised?

BTW, the http://www.floridasportsman.com/ is really up to speed on the Boating/Manatee related issues affecting FL.

TGIF!!

MD
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:00 AM
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I haven't seen that article yet. I usually read FS. I was invited to a CCA meeting this week. They are in the process of planning their local banquet. When they were reviewing the prints they will get for auction they saw some Manattee prints. One of the guys said if there was one with a Manattee on a BBQ they would have bought it.
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