Local tour operators are helping U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop an improved eco-tourism experience for visitors and manatees through the Manatee Ecotourism Association (META), an organization formed by local manatee tour operators.
The refuge also partners with Save Kings Bay and Save Crystal River, Inc, who work together towards improving water quality around refuge waters and harmonizing community values with refuge goals. The refuge also counts with the support from Sea to Shore Alliance, the Florida Springs Institute, Save the Manatee Club, the Felbourn Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, Citrus County, the Rotary Club, the University of Florida and CEOs for Manatees.
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These gentle and slow moving mammals occur primarily in Florida and southeastern Georgia usually in freshwater, brackish, and saltwater habitats.