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With cooler weather comes worries about Florida's ailing manatees

Wildlife agencies offered lettuce to starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon. Photo courtesy the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Wildlife agencies offered lettuce to starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.

Wildlife agencies say they are ready for a cold snap this weekend that likely will stress Florida’s manatees.

They’re prepared to provide supplemental lettuce for starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon as soon as Friday.

It will be the second year the wildlife agencies have taken the unprecedented step of providing lettuce for manatees at the power plant in Cape Canaveral.

But Jon Wallace of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the agencies are ready to rescue ailing manatees across the east coast.

“I think the overall cost is going to be really hard to get our heads around, but it’s well into seven digits.”

Manatees in the Indian River Lagoon have been especially hard-hit, as water quality problems have led to seagrass losses. A record 1,100 manatees died last year in Florida.

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. She began her career at The Associated Press in Nashville, Tenn. Amy grew up in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 7-year-old daughter.
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