Third Round of Manatee Avoidance Technology Grants Awarded - 2007
In 2001, the Florida Legislature appropriated $200,000 in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund (MRCTF) to fund research projects that directly address the problem of collisions between manatees and watercraft and seek to reduce collisions using technological solutions. Section 370.0603 F.S., provides, in part, that "The Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall serve as a broad-based depository for funds from various marine-related activities and shall be administered by the commission for the purposes of funding for marine research." Technological solutions proposed under the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology Grant Program should be consistent with Florida Statutes, the federal Endangered Species Act, and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, and should not cause an unauthorized take of manatees.
Topics Eligible for Funding
Topics eligible for funding through the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology Grant Program include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Technology designed to alert manatees to the presence of oncoming watercraft so the animals can modify their behavior to avoid collisions.
- Technology designed to alert boaters to the presence of manatees to enable boaters to avoid manatees without changing the behavior of the animals.
- Hull or propulsion-system design or technology which may reduce the risk of manatee-watercraft collisions or minimize injuries to the animals in the event of a collision; other technology designed to reduce the risk of manatee-watercraft collisions or minimize injuries to the animals in the event of a collision.
- Research on manatees to obtain data required for avoidance technology development. This can be studies about manatee hearing, sound production, and responses to boat noise including, but not limited to, behavioral and anatomical approaches. The total annual funding in this category limited to $50,000.
The Request for Proposals is currently closed. However, we may post another request for proposals in the next fiscal year pending budgetary appropriation.
Funds appropriated by the Florida Legislature for the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology initiative have been awarded through the grant program administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in St. Petersburg.
The FWRI solicited proposals for research designed to reduce the number of manatees hit by boats. The proposals were reviewed and selected by FWRI's grants committee. The proposals the committee selected for funding included a project to better understand manatee/boat interactions through a state-of-the-art digital acoustics tag, as well as research to characterize manatee hearing.
Contractors: University of South Florida
Amount Requested: $150,000
Funding allocated: $150,000
Auditory and tactile detection by the West Indian manatee
Behavioral research to better determine the manatee's hearing curve.
Contractors: Florida State University/Woods Hole
Amount Requested: $150,000
Funding Allocated: $150,000
Responses of manatees to vessel traffic: simultaneous measurements of behavioral responses and the acoustic environment
Use of a state-of-the-art digital acoustic tag to better characterize manatee/boat interactions.
Interim Final report