More Florida manatees have died in the first three months of 2021, than died in the entire year of 2020.  The majority of deaths have occurred between Brevard (where I live), and Broward County. The seagrass that manatee’s like to eat is scarce in these waters. The Indian River Lagoon also runs along these counties. It is estimated that one-third of the states 7,000 manatees uses this river to survive, at least some of the time throughout the year. 

Strict control of fertilizers, and runoff water has dramatically improved the Indian River Lagoon, but it seems we still have a long way to go. Cold-water stress kills manatees along with boat collisions, toxic red tides, and habitat loss. All of these are within in our ability to curb. When the water temperatures dip below 68 degrees the manatees undergo a lot of stress. That is why blue springs, which maintain a constant 72 degrees, and power plants, which have warm water runoffs, are so popular for the manatees in the cold-weather months.

Nevertheless, these astounding numbers have veterinarians and marine biologists scratching their heads for answers. Almost everyone agrees that poor water quality is probably the biggest factor that is harming the manatee. So, it appears that the manatee is simply starving to death. Estimates range as high as 2,100 deaths this year. That is nearly one-third of the population. The truth seems to be the negligence of our stormwater. We have had continual algal blooms over the last 10 years, which blocks out sea grass and kills it. God help us to find the solution quick, or we could see the state symbol go extinct in as little as four to five years. That would be a great tragedy! 

 

God bless you all, RHM.