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Lakes, Estuaries, and Lagoon Directory

 
 

ERM Directory

 
 

Florida Manatees

 
Manatee eating spartina (cordgrass)

What are manatees?
The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus), or sea cow, is a large plant-eating aquatic mammal commonly found in shallow coastal waters, rivers, canals, and springs of Florida. They range in color from gray to brown, and are seal-shaped in appearance, with flat, rounded tails. Adult manatees average 9.8 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds.

Where are manatees found in Palm Beach County?
Manatees are present in Palm Beach County year round and are most common during winter months, when many migrate to the warm water discharge at the Florida Power and Light Riviera Beach Power Plant. This area, within Lake Worth Lagoon, is recognized as one of the most important water manatee refuges on the east coast of Florida. Manatees are also commonly seen near Jupiter Inlet, Munyon Island, Boynton Inlet and Lake Wyman. They are often observed swimming, resting, or feeding near submerged seagrass beds. In dark colored water, manatees are more difficult to see, but may be identified by their dark, round snouts which break the surface of the water to breathe. Large, circular swirls in the water may also indicate the presence of manatees.

What are the major threats to manatees?
Many manatee mortalities are human-related. The primary threat from humans in Palm Beach County is collision with watercraft which accounts for 35% of manatee strandings. Other causes of human-related manatee mortalities include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line, entanglement in crab trap lines; and vandalism. Loss of habitat is also a serious threat facing manatees. High mortality, primarily associated with human activity, as well as a low reproductive rate and loss of habitat continue to keep the number of manatees low and threaten the future of the species.

To report violations, manatee injuries, or deaths, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC.

 

General Information

 
 

Manatee Surveys

 
 

Manatee Protection

 
 

More Information

 
 

Current Highlights and Upcoming Events

 
  • Hungryland Slough Natural Area - REOPENED
  • Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative Grant Program
    Now accepting applications for FY 2017. Deadline to submit is August 15, 2016. [LINK]
  • Pawpaw Preserve - UPDATE
    The Pawpaw Preserve Natural Area draft management plan is now available for public review. Public comments can be emailed to erm-natural@co.palm-beach.fl.us,or can be provided at the May 26, 2016 Public Hearing and Open House. Click on the link for time and location. [LINK]
  • Adventure Awaits - Sunrise Hike, May 7th 6:30am
    Join us for a guided hike through Cypress Creek Natural Area in Jupiter. For more details and to reserve your spot, click on the link to the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Firewalk, The Spark of Life, May 24th 5:30pm
    Join us at Sweetbay Natural Area in Palm Beach Gardens for this guided hike. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Namaste, Yoga in the Natural Areas, May 25th 6:30pm
    Join us at Yamato Scrub Natural Area in Boca Raton for this unique experience. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge, June 1st - 30th
    Interested in helping collect valuable fisheries information while getting a chance to win a prize? If so, you'll want to participate in this free fishing event. Visit the web page for details. [LINK]
  • Running Wild, June 4th 7:00am
    Run with ERM at Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area will cover approximately 10 miles and take participants through a variety of habitats on a combination of hardened and primitive trails. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Sunset Photography Workshop, June 10th 6:00pm
    Take part in a guided photography tour of Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm Beach. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Sunset Paddle, June 15th 5:30pm
    Come paddle with ERM staff to Fullerton Island in Jupiter as the sun sets over this recently restored 12 acre maritime hammock island with newly created seagrass and mangrove habitat. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Growing Up Wild, Connecting Kids to Nature, June 18th 9:00am
    ERM staff will lead you and your child on a guided walk through the woods at Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area highlighting points of interest associated with "Birds in Your Backyard" followed by an arts and crafts project each child can take home. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Adventure Awaits - Bike and Hike, June 25th 8:00am
    Discover the trails of Loxahatchee Slough with ERM staff during this unique tour that incorporates cycling and hiking. For more details and to reserve your spot, visit the event page. [EVENT PAGE]
  • Environmental Times Newsletter
    Read the latest edition Spring 2016 for highlights on artificial reefs, climate change, LagoonFest and more. [LINK]
  • Volunteer Accomplishments in 2015
    See what ERM's volunteers were up to in 2015. [PDF]
  • Mosquito Control Update - Zika Virus
    While ERM's Mosquito Control Division is hard at work taking proactive steps to reducing mosquito popluations learn how you can protect yourself and reduce your exposure to mosquitoe-borne diseases. [PDF]
  • Scavenger Hunts
    Are available at several natural areas for youngsters to complete to recieve their Natural Area Youth Explorer certificate. [PDF]
  • ERM's Status Reports
    Stay up to date on our projects with these monthly publications. [LINK]