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Lakes, Estuaries, and Lagoon Directory

 
 

ERM Directory

 
 

Florida Manatees

 
Manatee eating spartina (cordgrass)

What are manatees?
The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus), or sea cow, is a large plant-eating aquatic mammal commonly found in shallow coastal waters, rivers, canals, and springs of Florida. They range in color from gray to brown, and are seal-shaped in appearance, with flat, rounded tails. Adult manatees average 9.8 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds.

Where are manatees found in Palm Beach County?
Manatees are present in Palm Beach County year round and are most common during winter months, when many migrate to the warm water discharge at the Florida Power and Light Riviera Beach Power Plant. This area, within Lake Worth Lagoon, is recognized as one of the most important water manatee refuges on the east coast of Florida. Manatees are also commonly seen near Jupiter Inlet, Munyon Island, Boynton Inlet and Lake Wyman. They are often observed swimming, resting, or feeding near submerged seagrass beds. In dark colored water, manatees are more difficult to see, but may be identified by their dark, round snouts which break the surface of the water to breathe. Large, circular swirls in the water may also indicate the presence of manatees.

What are the major threats to manatees?
Many manatee mortalities are human-related. The primary threat from humans in Palm Beach County is collision with watercraft which accounts for 35% of manatee strandings. Other causes of human-related manatee mortalities include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line, entanglement in crab trap lines; and vandalism. Loss of habitat is also a serious threat facing manatees. High mortality, primarily associated with human activity, as well as a low reproductive rate and loss of habitat continue to keep the number of manatees low and threaten the future of the species.

To report violations, manatee injuries, or deaths, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC.

 

General Information

 
 

Manatee Surveys

 
 

Manatee Protection

 
 

More Information

 
 

Current Highlights and Upcoming Events

 
  • Mosquito Control Update - Zika Virus
    While ERM's Mosquito Control Division is hard at work taking proactive steps to reducing mosquito popluations learn how you can protect yourself and reduce your exposure to mosquitoe-borne diseases. [PDF]
  • Dark Sky Festival - Okeeheelee Nature Center, Sat. February 27th
    This free, fun-filled family event has many exciting and educational opportunities to experience and learn about the night sky. [LINK]
  • Site Closure - Sweetbay Natural Area, Palm Beach Gardens
    The natural area will not be accessible from Aviation Rd from Feb. 23, 2016 through Feb. 27, 2016 while work is done on the railroad crossing adjacent to the Beeline Highway.
  • Running Wild - Frenchman's Forest Natural Area, Sat. March 5th
    Series of guided 3 to 10 mile trail runs through pine, cypress and coastal scrub habitats on some of the most scenic trails in Palm Beach County. [LINK]
  • Environmental Times Newsletter
    Read the latest edition for highlights on artificial reefs, climate change, LagoonFest and more. [LINK]
  • Adventure Awaits Events
    Series of guided adventures (including hiking, cycling, paddling, photography, and more) designed to introduce participants to the hidden eco-treasures in Palm Beach County's natural areas. [SCHEDULE]
  • Scavenger Hunts
    Are available at several natural areas for youngsters to complete to recieve their Natural Area Youth Explorer certificate. [PDF]
  • ERM's Status Reports
    Stay up to date on our projects with these monthly publications. [LINK]