From Evey Hammond:
I know there are a lot of paddlers who love to come to Florida just to paddle with our precious wildlife and we could use all the help we can get. Over the summer last year we had a meeting about bear hunting and there was hardly the turnout we had hoped for. After the state went through with the hunt they ended up killing the bears in only one day and if we can’t get enough people to speak up then the manatees will suffer the same fate from boat strikes.
In early January, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its plans to publish a proposed rule to reclassify the species from endangered to threatened status– but that doesn’t mean legal protections for manatees should be lifted. The public has until April 7 to weigh in on the change. Then the service expects to publish the final rule to reclassify within about a year.
The move comes after years of debate, pitting boating and property rights advocates against the nonprofit Save the Manatee Club and other conservation groups.
Slow-speed zones for boats help prevent collisions that injure and kill manatees. These zones have been critical to manatee recovery, and with boat strikes still one of the top threats to manatees, these zones need to remain in place. However, a small but vocal group in Florida wants to see slow-speed zones reduced or even removed completely.
The meeting is this Saturday February 20th. People can tell the agency that all current legal protections for manatees and in particular slow boating speed zones need to stay in place no matter what. They can speak during the meeting or write their comments down.
Time: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. (informational open house hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (public hearing)
PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING ON SATURDAY
Saturday, February 20, 2016
1:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Buena Vista Palace Conference Center in the Great Hall
1900 Buena Vista Drive
Orlando , FL 32830
For information: Call 904-731-3332 or via e-mail to email@example.com, or visit: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/manatee/2016_Reclas_Proposal/20160107_faq_12-mo_Proposal_FAQs.htm
Any way you can help would be amazing, I see new scars on these manatees everyday! It would be devastating to see them disappear because of humans selfish need for speed. Just like our playful plops, we all need to slow down every now and then and take time to enjoy the creatures on this planet worth paying attention to!