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North Florida Field Office

Notice of Request for input on additional manatee protection measures Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: Why are you starting this process?

A1: During the past few months numerous State and local agencies have taken actions to further the protection and recovery of the manatee. Additionally, we anticipate new scientific information related to manatee recovery will be forthcoming over the next several months. Both of these developments may provide us and our Manatee Recovery Team with substantial data from which a long-term conservation plan may be developed and implemented to further recovery of the species. We also want to give the public and all interested parties an opportunity to provide input to the Service as we continue our efforts to recover the Florida manatee.

Q2: How did the settlement between the Save the Manatee Club et al. and the Fish and Wildlife Service affecting this process?

A2: This new request for information and data is not a condition of or a result of the Settlement agreement.

Q3: What is the Service looking for in this process?

A3: We are specifically, as part of this request, seeking information or suggestions that would help us identify how we can effectively increase boater education and outreach; where and when this education and outreach should be directed; factors that should or should not be considered to improve our boating facility site reviews; additional protection areas; locations that would be appropriate for increased law enforcement efforts; locations where the existing speed zone signage can be improved; and other activities that we should undertake or modify or cease to protect the manatee in Florida.

Q4: Will the public be given an opportunity to participate in this process?

A4: Yes. As noted in the answer to question #3 above, we are seeking information on a wide variety of subject areas related to manatee protection and recovery. We welcome ideas, suggestions and comments from Federal, State and local agencies, researchers, commercial and recreational interests, conservation groups, as well as private citizens.

Q5: Will there be public meetings or workshops held during this process?

A5: Public meetings may be scheduled, if requested. Request must be received within 90-days of the Notice’s publication date in the Federal Register. Meetings, if scheduled, will be broadly publicized to insure all interested parties have an opportunity to participate in this process. It is important to note that all comments received are reviewed and given equal weight regardless of whether they are received in writing or presented orally.

Q6: Is the new process tied to your other manatee actions being announced this month?

A6: Although not directly tied to our final designation of manatee protection areas nor our soon to be proposed Marine Mammal Protection Act incidental take regulations, information gathered as a result of those processes will likely overlap and thus prove useful as we progress through this new review process.

Q7: Will the Service’s Manatee Recovery Team be involved with the process?

A7: Yes, once the comment period is closed, we will host a meeting of the Recovery Team so it can review the information submitted pursuant to this notice, and discuss, evaluate and make recommendations to the Service regarding priorities for protection measures and habitat protection needs, that will help ensure the recovery of the manatee. We also propose to hold additional Recovery Team meetings to assist us in identifying additional manatee protection measures, and developing an implementation plan and schedule to carry out any new measures.

Q8: What will the Manatee Recovery Team consider in developing its recommendations to the Service?

A8: In developing recommendations for us to consider, the Manatee Recovery Team will be asked to consider the public comments and suggestions obtained through this notice, as well as the recovery needs of the species identified in the final recovery plan, the assessment of the habitat recovery criteria developed by the Habitat Working Group (HWG), the final determinations by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) and us in establishing additional protection areas, the FWCC’s Caloosahatchee River study, the species status reviews conducted by both the FWCC and us, and the most up-to-date manatee population model outputs. It will also ensure that the FWS is using the best available science.

Q9: When will this process be complete?

A9: A specific deadline for completion of this process has not been set.

Q10: Will the public have an opportunity to comment on any new regulatory measures the Service may consider as a result of this process?

A10: Yes. By law the Service must give the public an opportunity to comment on any new proposed regulations, and must consider those comments when finalizing those regulations.

- FWS -

You can submit comments electronically to: manatee@fws,gov.
Please indicate "Notice of Request" in your e-mail subject line or at the beginning of your comments.


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Last modified November 1, 2002