News Releases

FWC moves forward on Broward manatee rule

News Release

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed staff Thursday to move forward with proposed changes to the state manatee protection rule for Broward County.

The manatee management plan, passed by the FWC in December 2007, provides a schedule for the review of existing manatee protection rules. The first review occurred in Sarasota County in 2009, with a final rule approved in April 2010. A review of Broward County's rule began in 2009, because it is one of the oldest ones in Florida and new manatee and boating data from recent years in that area is available.

"It's the goal of the manatee program to go back and evaluate manatee protection rules after they've been in place for awhile to see if revisions or modifications are appropriate," said Kipp Frohlich, the FWC's Imperiled Species Section leader. "We looked at a wide range of data and compared manatee sightings over the years with current manatee use and boat traffic of the waterways in Broward."

FWC biologists also worked with law enforcement personnel and Broward County staff to help identify and evaluate potential changes.

"We identified 13 potential rule changes that might be warranted. We then notified Broward County officials in March, asking them to form a committee to consider the potential rule changes," Frohlich said. "After 13 meetings in Broward County, the 10-member Local Rule Review Committee (LRRC) provided its recommendations to us in August."

Frohlich told the Commission there is a high level of agreement between the LRRC and the staff. "The proposed changes would reduce risks to manatees and reduce speed zone complexity in Broward County," Frohlich said. "The change on the water for boaters would be minor."

The Commission directed staff to move forward by publishing the proposed rule changes, holding at least one public hearing and collecting more public comments on the proposal. A final rule will be brought back for consideration at either the April or June 2011 meeting.

To view the proposed changes and other information on the rule, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee.



FWC Facts:
Brown hoplo, a nonnative, armored catfish, is found throughout central and south Florida. They can survive in low-oxygen backwaters and ditches, where they gulp air at the surface.

Learn More at AskFWC