This article originally appeared on Outdoor Life .
Three environmental organizations filed a federal suit last year due to the high manatee deaths. The suit focuses on Florida’s poor water quality and claims that the EPA doesn’t follow or enforce the 2009. water-quality standards. The lawsuit calls for the EPS and the U.S. to reengage in talks regarding the Indian River Lagoon. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. Manatees die in large numbers at the lagoon.
“This neglect harms manatees and loggerhead sea turtles and smalltooth seefish and other ESA listed species, which depend on the health and ecosystem of the Indian River Lagoon,” the lawsuit states. CL Tampa Bay . Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife are two of three plaintiffs. The Save the Manatee Club is the third plaintiff.
This is the second lawsuit brought by the groups before a federal court. A suit alleges that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to take final action on a 2008 petition for manatees’ critical habitat designation. It was filed in February.
The lawsuits aren’t the only news from Florida about water quality. The state will invest $30 million to save manatees and improve water quality thanks to a budget passed in March. Governor Ron DeSantis announced his support for the funding on May 2 to save the state’s well-known marine animal, saying this was a “record investment in manatee care and protection.” While the state already had money going towards this cause, this new budget will increase that by $17 million.
” This historic funding will help Florida’s manatees, and the natural environment of Florida, to be successful,” stated Governor Ron DeSantis. “My administration will continue to work to find innovative ways to support native species like the manatee so that future generations can enjoy Florida’s natural resources .”
This budget will split the $30 million in the following ways. Twenty million will be used to expand and enhance the network of manatee acute-care facilities, to restore spring access and to provide habitat restoration in key locations. It will also implement pilot projects and expand manatee recovery efforts.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will receive $5.3million to increase manatee mortality and respond efforts. Manatee acute care facilities and research, rescue, and conservation activities will get $4.7 million, while $160,000 will go to increasing aerial surveys in the state.
“Today’s announcement is a continuation of the Governor’s and Legislature’s commitment water quality in the state, which is vital to the health and well-being of our environment, economy, fish and wildlife, said Shawn Hamilton, Secretary of DEP.
The situation of manatees is very dire in Florida. As of April 22, at least 527 manatees died so far this year. Last year the total number of manatees that died was 1,101, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This is the highest recorded state record since records began to be kept.
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