-Manatees eating off the seawall in Flamingo, FL. May, 2021. Photo JTLYesterday I called Dr Tom Reinard, South Regional Director for the Florida Wildlife Commission, and asked for an update on the manatee situation. He forwarded me this most recent update that includes an educational video about state and federal agencies- an emergency station, feeding, and observation.
As we know, the Florida manatees are experiencing an unprecedented Mortality Event. Most of the deaths are occurring in Brevard County, three counties north of Martin, along the Indian River Lagoon; but there are above average deaths in many counties. You can view the chart below to find your county and FWC Mortality Statistics to compare years. This event is due to lack of food to be found when manatees, with memories like elephants as they are related, return to find their historic seagrass meadows gone.
Recently, Dr Jessica Frost of the South Florida Water Management District presented about SEAGRASS along to the Sewall’s Point Commission in the Town of Sewall’s Point, Martin County. Her overall message was optimistic for the return of seagrass in our St Lucie/Indian River region in that seagrass is resilient. She pointed out that seagrass growth is seasonal and stochastic (randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.)
One thing that seemed simple to understand was the requirement of light for seagrass. We can all think of many reasons our various waters are blocked of light, such as algae blooms from nutrient pollution. For seagrasses to grow, there must be light.
“Let there be light…”
I share Dr Frosts’ powerpoint for reference and documentation. It is a good reference for all the lagoon. May 2022 be better than 2020 and 2021. From River Kidz to FWC we all must work to bring back the health of our seagrasses for our iconic manatee!
VIDEOS OF MANATEES EATING OFF THE SEAWALL IN FLAMINGO, FL MAY, 2021. HEAR THEM BREATH!