FWC holding public meeting on proposed changes to Collier County manatee zones
Monday, January 23, 2017
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: http://bit.ly/2eaNYTc
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a meeting to receive public input on proposed changes to the existing Collier County manatee protection zones.
The meeting will be on Jan. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m., in the Collier County Board of County Commissioners chambers, third floor, 3299 Tamiami Trail E., Naples.
In November 2016, the FWC gave staff the approval to publish the proposed manatee protection zones and hold a public meeting in the county to collect public input. Final approval of the proposed Collier County manatee zone changes may go before the Commission as soon as April.
The FWC’s recommendations for revisions to Collier County’s manatee zones are based on a review of recent data including manatee distribution surveys, mortalities, habitat use and boat traffic patterns. Most of the changes will result in the removal or reduction of speed zones in regulated waterways, with only a few new regulations affecting small areas of the waterways.
Over the past year, the FWC worked with Collier County, the city of Naples, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Collier County Local Rule Review Committee to determine whether updates were needed to manatee zones last amended in 1997. Previous public opportunities for input and recommendations to FWC in 2016 included workshops on March 7 and July 14.
Information on the proposed Collier County manatee zone changes is available at MyFWC.com/Manatee, by clicking on “Rulemaking” then “Notice of Proposed Rule.” The zones help reduce the risk of injuries to manatees from boats by requiring slower boat speeds in areas regularly used by manatees.
Floridians can help conserve Florida manatees by purchasing a “Save the Manatee” license plate at BuyaPlate.com.