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HomeGeneralSFWMD Released Footage Captures Manatees Seeking Refuge

SFWMD Released Footage Captures Manatees Seeking Refuge

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A picture of manatees
Source: Pinterest

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) recently spotted hundreds of manatees seeking refuge from cold temperatures. According to a mesmerizing drone video shared by the SFWMD, manatees seek refuge in Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River.

The video shows the manatees huddled along the shoreline at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida. Seeing these gentle giants congregating signifies the region’s rich biodiversity. In addition, it shows the importance of ongoing efforts to restore and preserve their habitats.

Also, the drone footage demonstrated the success of a recent restoration project initiated by the SFWMD. The project focused on the shoreline around Three Sisters Springs. According to the agency, the need to address erosion caused by manatee and human activity inspired the project.

However, the project has proven instrumental in creating a haven for these marine mammals. Following the development project, the repaired shoreline prevents further erosion. In addition, it contributes to improved water quality, habitat restoration, and increased safety for visitors.

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According to the agency, spring systems such as this are crucial for manatees. The marine mammals rely on the warm waters of the springs in the winter to avoid cold temperatures. Furthermore, the video displays the importance of one of the recent projects, the Three Sisters Springs Canal Stabilization Project. 

The agency worked to restore the spring system’s eroded shoreline, a critical habitat for manatees. They completed the project in November 2023. Also, they worked to improve the water quality of the system. In addition, the project focused on preventing future erosion caused by manatees and human activity.

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Consequently, the agency limited access to springs during the “manatee season,” which runs from November 15 to April 1. Further south, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) faced challenges during the restoration. They struggled to overcome setbacks caused by Hurricane Lan. 

Due to heavy flooding and debris, the agency temporarily halted the Warm Mineral Springs project. The project reportedly aimed at providing the marine giants with a cozy hideout during colder months. However, resilient efforts led to the completion of the project in spring 2023. 

Fortunately, the agency completed it in time to welcome manatees seeking warmth for the winter. According to reports, these large aquatic mammals utilize warm springs to shield themselves from the chilly winter temperatures. Hence, the FWC designates a “No Entry Zone” between November 15 and March 15 to protect this sanctuary.

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Thanks to the Florida Legislature, the funding required to complete the Warm Mineral Springs restoration project came in time. This support shows the government’s commitment to protecting these endangered species. Besides the project, a dedicated endeavor is underway to ensure public awareness. 

Also, the government is working on efforts to ensure compliance with regulations and laws related to marine mammal interaction. However, it is essential to note that the government prohibits several human activities related to marine mammals. Engaging in harassment, feeding, disturbance, or harm to these creatures is illegal.

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