Federal agency reclassifies manatee from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’

By Bruce Ritchie
03/30/2017 05:41 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE — The West Indian manatee is being downgraded from endangered to threatened under federal law, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday.

The lumbering sea cow, Florida’s state marine mammal, is the focus of disputes over boating speed zones and in areas where people flock to see or swim with them.

The federal agency said the manatee is being downgraded because it no longer is on the brink of extinction. And any protections now in place now will remain with the reclassification, agency officials said.

“The protection under the status of threatened are no less than under the status of endangered,” said Larry Williams, the ecological services program manager for the federal agency in Florida.

But some environmentalists say the change isn’t warranted because the species remains at risk.

The agency said in January 2016 that a variety of protective measures had helped increased populations by 500 percent in the past 25 years. The Florida manatee population had increased from an estimated 1,267 in 1991 to more than 6,620 now.

Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said in response to the announcement that manatees remain in danger.

“Thanks to the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, broad public support and conservation efforts by the state, manatee numbers have improved over the past few decades,” Lopez said in a statement. “With ongoing threats posed by boat strikes and habitat loss, we don’t support reducing protections through down-listing yet.”

Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, said the reclassification is premature because of massive die-offs and potential loss of habitat, including sea grass areas, springs and warm-water power plant discharges.

“Florida continues to not deal with its environmental problems to keep up with the impact of growth and development,” said Rose, an aquatic biologist.

But federal officials pointed to a number of steps taken by state officials including manatee speed zones, retrofitting water control structures to reduce manatees being caught or crushed and increasing manatee access to springs.

Manatee boating zones remain an issue of contention with some boat owners questioning their necessity as the number of manatees increase. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said boats killed a record 104 manatees in 2016, according to news reports.

Last year, House Bill 1273 would have required the state agency to conduct a study of the effectiveness of manatee speed zones including the extent the risk to manatees are reduced. The bill died after passing one committee stop.

Federal officials suggested the species reclassification would not allow speed zones to be repealed automatically. Those zones must be reviewed periodically in the 13 counties where they are required and can be changed based on available data.

Outside the United States, manatee population and abundance estimates are less certain, the Fish and Wildlife Service says. There are likely as many as 6,300 Antillean manatees spread over a much broader range, from the Mexican Gulf coast to northern Brazil and the Caribbean.

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/states/florida/whiteboard/2017/03/federal-agency-removes-manatee-from-endangered-species-act-110895

SWFMIA local government agenda items for the week of March 27, 2017

  • Lee County No Meetings

     

  • City of Cape Coral No Meetings

     

  • City of Fort Myers No Meetings

     

  • Town of Fort Myers Beach No Meetings

     

  • City of Sanibel No Meetings

     

  • City of Bonita Springs No Meetings

     

  • Village of Estero No Meetings

     

  • Charlotte County Tuesday the 28th @ 9:00am

    Vacancies

    Gulf Cove Waterway Benefit Unit is seeking one member to fill a vacant unexpired term through October 31, 2018.

    Northwest Port Charlotte Waterway Unit is seeking one member to fill a vacant unexpired term through October 31, 2019.

  • City of Punta Gorda No Meetings

     

  • Sarasota County No Meetings

     

  • City of North Port Tuesday the 28th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • City of Sarasota No Meetings

     

  • City of Venice Tuesday the 28th @ 9:00am

    No issues

  • Town of Longboat Key No Meetings

     

  • Manatee County No Meetings

     

  • City of Anna Maria No Meetings

     

  • City of Bradenton Beach No Meetings

     

  • City of Bradenton No Meetings

     

  • City of Holmes Beach Tuesday the 28th @ 6:00pm  

    No issues

  • City of Palmetto No Meetings

     

  • Hillsborough County No Meetings

     

  • Plant City Monday the 27th @ 7:30pm

    No issues

  • City of Tampa No Meetings

     

  • City of Temple Terrace No Meetings

     

  • Pinellas County No Meetings

     

  • Town of Belleair No Meetings

     

  • City of Belleair Beach No Meetings

     

  • City of Belleair Bluffs No Meetings

     

  • City of Clearwater No Meetings

     

  • City of Gulfport No Meetings

     

  • City of Indian Rocks Beach Tuesday th e28th @ 7:00pm

    No issues

  • Town of Indian Shores Tuesday the 28th @ 5:00pm

  • No issues
  • City of Largo No Meetings

     

  • City of Madeira Beach No Meetings

     

  • Town of North Redington Beach No Meetings

     

  • City of Oldsmar No Meetings

     

  • City of Pinellas Park No Meetings

     

  • Town of Redington Shores No Meetings

     

  • City of Safety Harbor No Meetings

     

  • City of Seminole Tuesday the 28th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • City South Pasadena Tuesday the 28th @ 9:00am

    No issues

  • City of St. Pete Beach Tuesday the 28th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • City of St. Petersburg No Meetings

     

  • City of Tarpon Springs No Meetings

     

  • City of Treasure Island No Meetings

     

  • Southwest Florida Water Management District Tuesday the 28th @ 9:00am

    No issues

  • South Florida Water Management No Meetings

     

  • WCIND No Meetings

Lake Okeechobee Levels Below 12 Feet Will Require Lock Closures

If dry conditions continue, several locks will be closed for safety reasons.

This map shows the locks that could be closed because of low water levels in Lake Okeechobee. Click on image to see a larger version.

West Palm Beach, FL – Boaters navigating to and from Lake Okeechobee, please be advised that if drier-than-average conditions persist and the levels of Lake Okeechobee are further reduced, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will close navigation locks on the north shore for safety reasons. Personal injury and lock damage could occur when boats pass through these structures at water levels below any of the designated safety limits.

Today, the water level in Lake Okeechobee is 12.77 feet. However, if the lake falls below 12 feet, locks along the north shore will be closed. The locks potentially affected are:
• Martin County: S-135 structure, J&S Fish Camp
• Okeechobee County: G-36 structure, Henry Creek
• Glades County: S-127 structure, Buckhead Ridge
• Glades County: S-131 structure, Lakeport
• ***Okeechobee County: S-193 structure, Taylor Creek, will close if lake levels fall below 11 feet.***
Despite these other possible closures, the S-310 lock on the south shore at Clewiston in Hendry County will remain open even as low lake levels continue. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the locks leading from the lake to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

To get the latest information on Lake Okeechobee’s water volume, including daily levels, visit SFWMD’s website at www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/levels.

To get the latest information on navigation through SFWMD structures and waterways, visit www.sfwmd.gov/navigation.

SWFMIA local government agenda items for the week of March 20,2017

Lee County Tuesday the 21st @ 9:30am

No issues

 

City of Cape Coral Monday the 20th @ 4:30pm

Agenda not posted will check back next week

 

City of Fort Myers Monday the 20th @ 4:30pm

Agenda not posted will check back next week

 

Town of Fort Myers Beach Monday the 20th @ 6:30pm

Marine Resources Task Force – Progress Report
Dune Vegetation Plans

 

City of Sanibel Tuesday the 21st @ 9:00am

Award 2017 Boat Ramp Rehabilitation Project to SteMic Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Steric Marine Construction in the amount of $285,532 and authorize the City Manager to execute same.
Staff Memorandum
Bid Results
SteMic Contract
RESOLUTION 17-023 APPROVING BUDGET AMENDMENT/TRANSFER NO. 2017-017 AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE (To budget $137,500 in grant funding from the Lee County Boating Improvement Program for repairs to the city boat ramp. The total expenses for the project are already included in the FY 2017 budget See staff memo for more details on the project. This amendment increases the FY 2017 budget by $137,500, the amount of grant funds to be received)
Attachments: Resolution 17-023

 

City of Bonita Springs No Meetings


 

 

Village of Estero No Meetings No Meetings

 

Charlotte County No Meetings


 

City of Punta Gorda No Meetings


 

Sarasota County Tuesday & Wednesday the 21st & 22nd @ 9:00am

Tuesday
No issues
Wednesday
(Public hearing) To adopt a resolution regarding WNCA Major Work Permit Application No. 2016-114856-RW for new dredging to widen the mouth of an existing boat basin, installation of a new rock revetment, and construction of a multi-family dock facility at Rivetta Court, Sarasota. 

 

City of North Port No Meetings

 

City of Sarasota Monday the 20th @ 2:30pm

No issues

 

City of Venice No Meetings

No issues

 

Town of Longboat Wednesday the 22nd @ 1:00pm

No issues

 

Manatee County No Meetings

 

City of Anna Maria Thursday the 23rd @ 6:00pm

Agenda not posted will check back next week

 

City of Bradenton Beach No Meetings


 

City of Bradenton Wednesday the 22nd @ 6:00pm

Regatta Economic Impact Study

 

City of Holmes Beach No Meetings

 

City of Palmetto No Meetings

 

Hillsborough County No Meetings

 

Plant City No Meetings

 

City of Tampa Thursday the 23rd @ 5:30pm

No issues

 

City of Temple Tuesday the 21st @ 6:00pm

No issues

 

Pinellas County Tuesday the 21st @ 2:00pm

No issues

 

Town of Belleair Tuesday the 21st @ 6:00pm

No issues

 

City of Belleair Beach No Meetings

 

City of Belleair Bluffs No Meetings

 

City of Clearwater No Meetings

 

City of Gulfport No Meetings

 

City of Indian Rocks Beach No Meetings

 

Town of Indian Shores No Meetings

 

City of Largo No Meetings

 

City of Madeira Beach No Meetings

 

Town of North Redington Beach No Meetings

 

City of Oldster Tuesday the 21st @ 7:00pm

No issues

 

City of Pinellas Park Thursday the 23rd @ 7:30pm

No issues

 

Town of Redington Shores No Meetings

 

City of Safety Harbor Monday the 20th @ 7:30pm

No issues

 

City of Seminole No Meetings

 

City South Pasadena No Meetings

 

City of St. Pete Beach No Meetings

 

City of St. Petersburg No Meetings

 

City of Tarpon Springs Tuesday the 21st @ 6:30pm

No issues

 

City of Treasure Island Tuesday the 21st @ 6:00pm

No issues

 

Southwest Florida Water Management District No Meetings

 

South Florida Water Management No Meetings

 

WCIND Friday the 24th @ 10:00am

Manatee County
• Coquina Dredging Project:
– Mitigation plan transmitted to regulatory agencies (including Permit)
– Seeking prices for mitigation work.
– Exploring additional mitigation area that may benefit Longboat Key
• Awaiting UF Sea Grant Staff proposal on moored vessels study.
• Met with Town of Longboat Key City Mgr/staff twice RE: canal dredging and pass issues.
• Jacksonville District is planning dredging operations using the Corps Dredge Currituck to remove approximately 10,000 cubic yards of material in the vicinity of USCG Buoys R38 to R44 in the GIWW, Manatee County Cut M-5, Stations 2 through 57. The dredged material will be placed into the nearshore placement area off of Egmont Key.

Charlotte County
• Trestle Project – project moving well – estimate 5 0% completed. Staff continues construction monitoring.
• Coordinating with County staff on contract monitoring and possible need for additional work.
• Met CC TV on site for story/filming.
• Working with County Staff, US Coast Guard, and FFWCC on Ferry Crossing signage issues (Palm Island Transit).

Lee County
• Big Carlos/New Pass project pre-construction meeting held 2/13.
• New Pass mechanical has begun.
• Big Carlos Hydraulic scheduled to start April, New Pass after that

Sarasota County
• Consulting with County staff RE: removal of ancillary dock at Venice Jetty.
Addressing Lyons Bay channel issues with County Staff.
• Met with County Staff, RE: Navigational Dredging.

Regional/District Projects
• Attended Corps Waterway inspection trip – extremely beneficial.
• Partnered with Tampa Bay MIA and SW Florida MIA to host marine theft workshop for Law enforcement and manufacturers/boat dealers 3/15.
• Working to fulfill LE request for additional coordination on Marine Law Enforcement topics.
• Coordinating with County staff on oversight of three major projects –
Trestle, New Pass, Big Carlos Pass.
• Asked to participate in Statewide Ecosystem Assessment of Coastal and Aquatic Resources (SEACAR). 5 year process, unsure of time commitment.
• Reviewing latest version of the USACE Contributed Fund Agreement as amended by USACE.
• Working with legal counsel on vessel aggregation issues.

WCIND Council’s Report – Vessel Aggregation Areas

SWFMIA local government agenda items for the week of March 13, 2017

Lee County No Meetings

 

City of Cape Coral No Meetings

 

City of Fort Myers No Meetings

 

Town of Fort Myers Beach No Meetings

 

City of Sanibel No Meetings

 

City of Bonita Springs Wednesday the 15th @ 9:00am

No issues

 

Village of Estero No Meetings

Estero River Maintenance – Roland Ottolini, Director, Lee County Natural Resources Division

https://estero-fl.gov/wp-content/uploads/library/Agenda%20Attachments/Workshop%20-%20Estero%20River%20Maintenance%20-%2010a.pdf

 

Charlotte County Tuesday the 14th @ 9:00am

Vacancies

Gulf Cove Waterway Benefit Unit is seeking one member to fill a vacant unexpired term through October 31, 2018. 

Northwest Port Charlotte Waterway Unit is seeking one member to fill a vacant unexpired term through October 31, 2019.

Appointment – Alligator Creek Waterway MSBU Advisory Board
Approve the appointment of Mr. Robert Simmons to the Alligator Creek Waterway MSBU Advisory Board. This appointment will be effective immediately and will expire on October 31, 2019.

Appointment – Harbour Heights Waterway MSBU Advisory Board
Approve the appointment of Mr. Christopher Alonso to the Harbour Heights Waterway MSBU Advisory Board. This appointment will be effective immediately and will expire on October 31, 2018.

WCIND Agenda for March 24, 2017
Discussion of the WCIND agenda for the upcoming March 24, 2017 meeting.

RESTORE Fisheries Monitoring
Approve amending current RESTORE Multi-year Implement Plan (MYIP) for Direct Component funding to reduce the scope of the Fisheries Monitoring Project and approve submitting the revised project to the US Department of Treasury for funding.  

 

City of Punta Gorda Wednesday the 15th @ 9:00am

Appointment
Punta Gorda Isles Canal Advisory Committee
 

Sarasota County No Meetings

 

City of North Port No Meetings

 

City of Sarasota No Meetings

 

City of Venice Tuesday the 14th @ 9:00am

No issues

 

Town of Longboat Key No Meetings

 

Manatee County Tuesday the 7th @ 9am (Last Week)

No issues

 

City of Anna Maria No Meetings

 

City of Bradenton Beach Thursday the 16th @ 12:00pm

PUBLIC HEARING: Special Use Permit per Section 307.2.3 of the City of Bradenton Beach’s Land Development Code for a non-commercial (private) boat docks/piers over 500 sq. ft. in area or over 65 ft. in projected length from the mean high waterline.

Second Reading and Public Hearing of Ordinance 17-479 (Marine Anchorage & Mooring Field)

 

City of Bradenton No Meetings

 

City of Holmes Beach Tuesday the 14th @ 6:00pm  

No issues

 

City of Palmetto Monday the 13th @ 7:00pm

No issues

 

Hillsborough County No Meetings

 

Plant City Monday the 13th @ 7:30pm

No issues

 

City of Tampa Thursday the 16th @ 9:00am

No issues

 

City of Temple Terrace No Meetings

 

Pinellas County No Meetings

 

 

Town of Belleair No Meetings

 

City of Belleair Beach No Meetings

 

City of Belleair Bluffs No Meetings

 

City of Clearwater Monday the 13th @ 1:00pm

Approve an amendment to modify the description of use for an existing Sovereign Submerged Lands Easement, recorded in Official Records Book 17424, Page 1560 of the Public Records of Pinellas County, Florida and authorize the appropriate officials to execute same.
Easement DocumentLocation Maps

 

City of Gulfport No Meetings

 

City of Indian Rocks Beach No Meetings

 

Town of Indian Shores Tuesday the 14th @ 5:00pm

No issues

 

City of Largo Tuesday the 14th @ 4:00pm

No issues

 

City of Madeira Beach Tuesday the 7th @ 6:00pm (Last Week)

No issues

 

Town of North Redington Beach Thursday the 16th @ 6:00pm

ORDINANCE NO. 2017-784 AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF NORTH REDINGTON BEACH, FLORIDA, AMENDING CHAPTER 18, BUILDINGS AND BUILDING REGULATIONS, ARTICLE VI, SEAWALLS AND MARINE STRUCTURES, SECTION 18-139, MINIMUM CONSTRUCTION

STANDARDS FOR SEAWALLS ON WATERS OTHER THAN GULF OF MEXICO, OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE TOWN OF NORTH REDINGTON BEACH TO CHANGE THE MAXIUM SEAWALL HEIGHT, PROVIDNG FOR VARIANCE PROCEDURE, PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY, AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. SECOND AND FINAL READING.

 

City of Oldsmar No Meetings 

 

City of Pinellas Park No Meetings

 

Town of Redington Shores Wednesday the 15th @ 7:00pm

No issues

 

City of Safety Harbor No Meetings

 

City of Seminole Tuesday the 14th @ 6:00pm

No issues

 

City South Pasadena Monday the 13th @ 7:00pm

No issues

 

City of St. Pete Beach No Meetings

 

 

City of St. Petersburg Thursday the 16th @ 3:00pm

No issues

 

City of Tarpon Springs No Meetings

 

City of Treasure Island No Meetings

 

Southwest Florida Water Management District No Meetings

 

South Florida Water Management No Meetings

 

WCIND No Meetings

Bridge Maintenance Impacts Lake Okeechobee Boaters at Torrey Island

The US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District received word today that Palm Beach County will undertake emergency repairs on the bridge at Torrey Island near Belle Glade. Operation of the bridge has been suspended, effectively closing Route 2 of the Okeechobee Waterway (also known as the “Rim Canal”) at that location as most boats are too tall to pass under the structure. We expect that boaters will feel the impacts from this closure for the rest of the month. The Corps is issuing a notice to navigation on this subject, attached to this note.

SWFMIA local government agenda items for the week of March 6, 2017

  • Lee County Tuesday the 7th @ 9:30am

    No issues

  • City of Cape Coral Monday the 6th @ 4:30PM

    No issues

  • City of Fort Myers Monday the 6th @ 4:30pm

    No issues

  • Town of Fort Myers Beach Monday the 6th @ 2:00pm

    Matanzas Harbor Management Plan
    Approve the draft Harbor Management Plan to be submitted to the
    Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for review

    Professional Services for Bayside Access Improvements
    Approve the Supplemental Task Authorization (STA) with Coastal
    Engineering Consultants to perform professional engineering services for
    Bayside access improvements in the amount of $76,963.00.

  • City of Sanibel Tuesday the 7th @ 9:00am

    No issues

  • City of Bonita Springs No Meetings

  • Village of Estero No Meetings

  • Charlotte County No Meetings

  • City of Punta Gorda No Meetings

  • Sarasota County No Meetings

  • City of North Port Tuesday the 7th @ 1:00pm

    No issues

  • City of Sarasota Monday the 6th @ 2:30pm

    Approval Re: Authorize the Mayor and City Auditor and Clerk to execute the Contract Agreement between the City of Sarasota and Energy Resources, Inc., (ITB #17-11BK) pertaining to Dredging of 10th Street Boat Basin in the amount of $598,800.00 – Presenter(s): Senior Utilities Engineer Nichols
    Click to View Backup Material

  • City of Venice No Meetings

  • Town of Longboat Key Monday the 6th @ 7:00pm

    No issues

  • Manatee County No Meetings

  • City of Anna Maria Thursday the 9th @ 6:00pm

    City Pier RFP Update – Mayor

  • City of Bradenton Beach No Meetings

  • City of Bradenton Wednesday the 8th @ 8:30pm

    No issues

  • City of Holmes Beach No Meetings

  • City of Palmetto No Meetings

  • Hillsborough County No Meetings

  • Plant City No Meetings

  • City of Tampa Thursday the 9th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • City of Temple Terrace Tuesday the 7th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • Pinellas County Tuesday the 7th @ 9:30pm

    No issues

  • Town of Belleair Tuesday the 7th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • City of Belleair Beach Monday the 6th @ 5:30pm

    No issues

  • City of Belleair Bluffs No Meetings

  • City of Clearwater No Meetings

  • City of Gulfport Tuesday the 7th @ 7:00pm

    2017-01: Second Reading and Public Hearing: An ordinance of the City of Gulfport, Florida, amending Article I of Chapter 6 of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to Beaches, Boats, Boating and Waterfront Structures; providing for amendment of Subsection (11) of Section 6–1 Definitions, providing for amendment of Subsection (3) and Subsection (4) of Section 6-13.2 Living Aboard Vessel Prohibited; Exceptions; providing for the repeal of ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith, to the extent of such conflict; and providing for an effective date.
    Item #6-a – Memorandum

    Item #6-a – Ordinance

    2017-24: A resolution of the City of Gulfport, Florida, amending fees for the Department of Leisure Services in accordance with Chapter 25 of the Code of Ordinances by establishing monthly fees for live-aboard berths at the Gulfport Municipal Marina; and providing for an effective date.
    Item #7-a – Memorandum

    Item #7-a – Resolution

  • City of Indian Rocks Beach No Meetings

  • Town of Indian Shores No Meetings

  • City of Largo No Meetings

  • City of Madeira Beach No Meetings

  • Town of North Redington Beach No Meetings

  • City of Oldsmar Tuesday the 7th @ 7:00pm  

    No Meetings

  • City of Pinellas Park Thursday the 9th @ 7:30pm

    No issues

  • Town of Redington Shores No Meetings

  • City of Safety Harbor Monday the 6th @ 7:30pm

    No issues

  • City of Seminole No Meetings

  • City South Pasadena No Meetings

  • City of St. Pete Beach No Meetings

  • City of St. Petersburg No Meetings

  • City of Tarpon Springs Tuesday the 7th @ 6:30pm

    No issues 

  • City of Treasure Island Tuesday the 7th @ 6:00pm

    No issues

  • Southwest Florida Water Management District No Meetings

  • South Florida Water Management Thursday the 9th @ 9:00am

    No issues

  • WCIND No Meetings