Manatee Season at Port Everglades
Manatee season officially runs from November 15 through March 31. Manatees scatter around Port Everglades and within the Dania Cutoff Canal, which has a warm water source at the Lauderdale Power Plant cooling lakes. In previous years, more than 1,200 manatees were counted in Broward County's waterways, which represents approximately 20 percent of the entire statewide population of manatees.
Port Everglades has a long history of protecting manatees. Protections include establishing protection zones, performing stringent monitoring during marine construction and dredging projects, increased signage and educational outreach, and installation of protective vessel fendering systems throughout Port Everglades. In the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), a 6,000 foot long idle-speed zone, between the south end of Berth 25 and approximate midpoint of Berth 31 (colored yellow in the graphic below), is in effect between November 15 and March 31, and a slow-speed zone applies in all other waters of Port Everglades year round. Our idle-speed zone is the only idle-speed zone in the entire 28-mile length of the ICW in Broward County, yet vessels are often observed passing through it at higher speeds. If you observe another vessel passing through it at a higher speed please make an attempt to safely inform them of the idle-speed zone. As a reminder, the entire Florida Power & Light (FPL) discharge canal (colored red in the graphic below) is closed year-round to all non-authorized vessels.
Port Everglades is requesting the continued observance of the following manatee protection procedures:
- Inspection of the waters adjacent to any berths and vessels before arriving and leaving dockside to ensure that no manatees are within the area.
- Allowing enough time to accommodate for idle-speed conditions during vessel arrival and departure.
- Allocating ample time to meet vessels entering the Port while observing the speed regulations.
- Observation of the idle- and slow-speed regulations within the Port throughout the year.
- Coordination with the Port Everglades Harbormaster’s Office to report sightings of manatees outside of the FPL discharge canal.
Protections for Florida manatees were first enacted in 1893. Today, they are protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act [Florida Statute 379.2431(2)] and are federally protected by both the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. To report an injured, dead, harassed, or orphaned manatee, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on a mobile phone or email Tip@MyFWC.com.
To help record occurrences of healthy manatees, especially out-of-season, please download and use the “I Spy a Manatee” mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. The app, which was created and is managed by the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department (EPGMD) records your location and allows you to easily upload a photo of the manatee. EPGMD also conducts weekly aerial manatee counts via helicopter and provides weekly summary reports. Please let me know if you are interested in receiving the weekly summary reports.
Port Everglades values your continued cooperation in protecting this gentle endangered animal. For additional information or questions, please contact Erik Neugaard, Port Everglades Environmental Program Manager, at 954-468-0164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.