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Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Increase Protection for the West Indian Manatee

September 23, 2021

Paws Up!

To House Representatives Darren Soto and Vern Buchanan for introducing House Resolution 4946 to protect the West Indian manatee that is dwindling drastically.


The West Indian manatee can be found lazily, cruising through the warm waters of Florida. These large, docile creatures, referred to as “sea cows,” survive on submerged seagrass. Manatees spend most of their day munching on the aquatic plants that cover almost 2.7 million acres of the waters in Florida. The abundance of seagrass combined with warm water temperatures creates a prime habitat for manatees.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Game Commission, manatee deaths have almost doubled since 2020. This alarming rate has led Florida Representatives Buchanan (D-District 13) and Soto (R-District 9) to introduce House Resolution 4946, the Manatee Protection Act of 2021. H.R. 4946 would add the West Indian manatee to the endangered species list. This action is an important step to help keep this gentle species from extinction and finding solutions to help them recover. They are vulnerable to injuries and death by motorized watercraft, pollution, and loss of habitat and food.

news article attributes the loss of the manatees’ food source for their increased deaths. Seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon, which covers almost half of the eastern Florida coast, used to thrive, but changes to the water quality and the growth of algae blooms have greatly affected it. Seagrass needs sunlight to grow, and the invasion of algae blooms deprives the seagrass of its rays. Florida Tech is researching ways to help improve the Indian River Lagoon. One area they are focusing on is inhibiting the growth of algae blooms by using bottle caps in mesh bags. These bags, placed in specific locations, will promote good bacteria growth to remove nitrogen from the water, which creates a breeding ground for the harmful algae blooms. Will you show your support for the Manatee Protection Act of 2021?

Indian River Lagoon (left)

Take Action: Please contact your representative today to show your support for H.R. 4946.

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