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U.S. Fish and Wildlife reaches agreement in litigation over Florida’s ailing manatees

This Jan. 5, 2014 photo by Chip Deutsch shows manatees in the Indian River during happier times. Photo: FWC

Conservation groups announced Wednesday they have reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a lawsuit over Florida’s ailing manatees. 

The federal agency will have to update and strengthen protections on manatee habitat under the agreement. 

The conservation groups say the habitat protections have not been updated since 1976. 

Water quality problems and seagrass losses in the Indian River Lagoon led to a record die-off last year of 1,100 manatees in Florida. Here’s Pat Rose of the Save the Manatee Club. 

“We believe they should be more specifically defined, such as the seagrass should be designated as a constituent element of that critical habitat, for example.”  

The Save the Manatee Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife filed the lawsuit. The manatee die-off continues this year, with 562 deaths recorded since January.  

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

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 ... Read Full Bio »