Possible Manatee Status Change Strikes Balance for Supporters, Worries Environmentalists
On one side are environmental groups, which remain concerned about huge increases in manatee deaths in recent years, declining water quality conditions and what that means for the species' long-term health. On the other side are private property owners, boaters and the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents a group of property owners and boaters in Citrus County who have resisted proposed additional restrictions along Crystal River to protect the animals. They say they just want federal officials to follow their own laws for species that are recovering and no longer in danger of extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the latest chapter in a decades-long struggle over what to do about Florida's most famous marine mammal when it announced this summer that it would review the status of the manatee.