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FALL 2021: 27
MANATEE CLUB JOINS LAWSUIT
OVER POOR WATER QUALITY
By Fred Mays
Three conservation groups, including the Save The Manatee Club,
have declared their intention to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
over the massive die off of manatees in Florida waters this year.
Save The Manatee Club joins Defenders of Wildlife and the Center
for Biological Diversity in the suit, which claims FWS failed to update
designated critical habitat areas for the manatees, as required by
According to Patrick Rose, club executive director, they have been
pushing the feds since 2008 to upgrade the regulations. The ultimate
goal of the lawsuit is to get FWS to push the Environmental Protection
Agency to require higher water quality standards.
“FWS has to hold EPA’s feet to the fire,” Rose says.
The EPA needs to stop issuing permits that degrade water quality in
the Indian River Lagoon estuary, he says. “That isn’t going to happen
if we don’t keep pressing hard.”
Manatees are classified as a threatened species under both federal
and state law. Several Florida members of congress are seeking to
upgrade that status to endangered, which would afford manatees
even more protection.
More than 900 manatees have died in Florida waters so far in 2021,
most of them in the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.
Photo © David Schrichte