Lee County Manatees Need Your Help!
Proposed Marina Threatens Nearly 500 Manatees
Florida’s Governor and Cabinet recently approved a state-owned submerged lands lease application by Leeward, LLC to develop a 128-slip marina on the Orange River in Lee County, Florida.
The Leeward, LLC property is just downstream from the Florida Power and Light (FPL) plant’s warm water discharge, which has attracted nearly 500 manatees to its warm waters during the coldest winter days. Leeward is trying to turn a dilapidated and predominantly unusable boating facility into a bustling marina. This basin is not just a travel corridor but a critically important manatee habitat component. In fact, hundreds of manatees on a single day have been counted resting in the passive warm-water basin that would become the marina. (See photos)
The Marine Mammal Commission recently wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating that the Service's Biological Opinion of this project does not adequately consider:
The project’s impact upon manatees recovering from cold stress.
The increased potential for boat-related harassment, injury, and deaths of manatees.
That this project would be located in the middle of the most important warm water refuge for manatees on Florida’s west coast.
The marina would be sited in the state’s deadliest river system, within the deadliest county for manatees. Its proposed location downstream from a major winter manatee refuge further illustrates that this development must be stopped!
What You Can Do: By adding your information below, you will be sending an email to Sam Hamilton, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, and Col. Paul L. Grosskruger of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Please also consider making a donation. Legal action may be necessary in this case, and we will need funds to make sure manatees are protected.
Thank you for your help and support!
Save the Manatee Club, 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751