2008-2009 Save the Manatee Trust Fund Annual Report
Save the Manatee Trust Fund Annual Report (3.7 MB)
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is
pleased to submit this annual report on the expenditures from the
Save the Manatee Trust Fund (Trust Fund). The report covers the
period from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. As required by
Florida law, §379.2431(4)(b), Florida Statutes (F.S.), the report
is provided to the President of the Florida Senate and the Speaker
of the Florida House of Representatives by December 1, each year.
The Trust Fund receives money from sales of manatee license plates
and decals, boat registration fees, and voluntary donations. It is
the primary source of funding for the State's manatee-related
research and conservation activities. Revenues for Fiscal Year (FY)
2008-2009 totaled $3,868,422. Appropriations from the Trust Fund
for the same period were $4,021,122.
In FY 2008-2009, the Division of Habitat and Species
Conservation expended $1,019,526 for management and conservation
activities and the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute expended
$1,789,220 on research and monitoring. In the pages that follow,
details of these expenditures and highlights of specifi c
accomplishments and updates are provided.
The Florida manatee is native to the rivers and coastal waters
of the State. First protected legislatively in Florida in 1892,
today it is protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act
(§379.2431(2), F.S.) and federally by both the Marine Mammal
Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. On the federal level
there has been a Manatee Recovery Plan since 1980. As of 2007, FWC
approved a Manatee Management Plan (Plan) to guide State
conservation efforts. The goal of the Plan is to effectively manage
the manatee population in perpetuity by protecting habitat and
In FY 2008-2009, FWC and its partners made signifi cant strides
to advance the long term goals and objectives of the Plan. During
the annual synoptic count, a record high number of manatees (over
3,800) was observed. This is tempered by the record high number of
deaths also recorded during the Fiscal Year (a total of 418). In
addition, innovative research in understanding how manatees
perceive and respond to boats was conducted and new advances in
genetic sampling were made. Measures were taken to evaluate natural
springs to determine fl ow quality and manatee access and how these
attributes may be protected and even enhanced. Intergovernmental
partnerships resulted in a streamlined process for permit
applications and reviews.
These efforts are but a few of the many programs, studies, and
partnerships that are part of the Plan. Through an integrated
conservation framework of research, management, law enforcement,
and outreach, FWC is working to better understand the threats
manatees face, ensure adequate habitat for the present as well as
the future, employ necessary and appropriate protections, and
create effective and long-lasting partnerships aimed at the
conservation and protection of this unique and iconic creature.
Provided that the Save the Manatee Trust Fund revenues are secure
and remain dedicated to the implementation of the Manatee
Management Plan, the FWC can continue working toward a brighter
future for the Florida manatee.