COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is publishing proposed revisions to the Collier County manatee protection zones.
Final approval of the Collier County manatee zone changes will go before the Commission in 2017. Before then, a public meeting on the manatee zone amendments will be held in Collier County.
The FWC’s recommendations for changes to Collier County’s manatee zones are based on recent data collected from manatee surveys, deaths and habitat use, as well as boat use data in area waters. The changes will affect less than 4 percent of the county’s 51,459 acres of inshore waterways.
“We updated the older manatee zones based on improved data and lessons learned from 20 years of manatee management experience,” said Carol Knox, section leader of the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Section.
The majority of the proposed changes will result in the removal or reduction of speed zones in regulated waterways, while only a few new regulations will affect smaller areas of waterways. For example, a Slow Speed zone is proposed for Moorings Bay, which was formerly regulated as an Idle Speed zone.
Collier County was one of the 13 counties identified by the Governor and Cabinet in 1989 as key counties that needed to implement actions to help protect manatees. The statewide manatee management plan approved in 2007 also directs FWC staff to periodically review existing manatee protection zones to see if changes are needed.