FWC moves forward on Broward manatee rule
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) directed staff Thursday to move forward with
proposed changes to the state manatee protection rule for Broward
The manatee management plan, passed by the FWC in
December 2007, provides a schedule for the review of existing
manatee protection rules. The first review occurred in Sarasota
County in 2009, with a final rule approved in April 2010. A review
of Broward County's rule began in 2009, because it is one of the
oldest ones in Florida and new manatee and boating data from recent
years in that area is available.
"It's the goal of the manatee program to go back
and evaluate manatee protection rules after they've been in place
for awhile to see if revisions or modifications are appropriate,"
said Kipp Frohlich, the FWC's Imperiled Species Section leader. "We
looked at a wide range of data and compared manatee sightings over
the years with current manatee use and boat traffic of the
waterways in Broward."
FWC biologists also worked with law enforcement
personnel and Broward County staff to help identify and evaluate
"We identified 13 potential rule changes that might
be warranted. We then notified Broward County officials in March,
asking them to form a committee to consider the potential rule
changes," Frohlich said. "After 13 meetings in Broward County, the
10-member Local Rule Review Committee (LRRC) provided its
recommendations to us in August."
Frohlich told the Commission there is a high level
of agreement between the LRRC and the staff. "The proposed changes
would reduce risks to manatees and reduce speed zone complexity in
Broward County," Frohlich said. "The change on the water for
boaters would be minor."
The Commission directed staff to move forward by
publishing the proposed rule changes, holding at least one public
hearing and collecting more public comments on the proposal. A
final rule will be brought back for consideration at either the
April or June 2011 meeting.
To view the proposed changes and other information
on the rule, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee.