The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) has started the Florida Springs Heartland Manatee Sighting Network, a citizen-science program to better understand how manatees use the rivers and springs in and around Alachua County. The public is asked to report sightings year-round to a form managed by the Save the Manatee Club. November 15, 2022, marks the beginning of manatee season in Florida. This indicates the major shift when manatees come in-shore looking for warm-water sanctuaries to escape the cold. Manatees come into the springs in this region to use the consistent 72-degree water to survive. By reporting these sightings, citizens can help contribute data to a growing state-wide database that may influence future research, policy, and protection for these gentle giants and their habitat.
Please remember to mind your manatee manners when out on the water. Give manatees at least two kayak lengths of distance, never feed or give manatees water, and report harassment or injured manatees to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or your local law enforcement.
The Florida Springs Heartland Manatee Sighting Network is grant funded by the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s Protect Florida Springs tag grant.
For more information, contact Alachua County Senior Environmental Specialist Lindsey Kelly at 352-264-6859 or firstname.lastname@example.org