Celebrate Earth Day,
|Celebrate Earth Day!
The very first Earth Day
was held on April 22, 1970. It was a critical milestone in American
history. Earth Day shone a light on the degradation of our wild
places, and the loss of animal and plant species taking place at an
alarming rate. It set the stage for the passage of the Endangered
Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean
Air Act. It led to the creation of the federal Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). According to the EPA's website, before 1970
"There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our
environment." Environmental protections safeguard our health, and
that of our wildlife populations, and they conserve our shared
|Earlier this year, we launched our
live manatee webcams at Blue Spring State Park.
Flash back to that first Earth Day in 1970, when not much
was known about manatees. Brutus and Merlin, two of our beloved Blue
Spring manatee adoptees, were identified that year by a researcher.
Brutus and Merlin are at least 42 years old now! Their longevity is a
testament to Save the Manatee Club's hard work campaigning for better
protections, like the 300,000+ acres of Florida's waterways now
regulated for manatee protection, and like the boat speed zones that
protect the manatee population using the St. Johns River, including
Brutus and Merlin and our other Blue Spring manatee adoptees.
This Earth Day, we celebrate our
manatee adoptees' lives because they are survivors -- in spite of the
many human-related threats to their survival, including speeding
boats, water pollution, shoreline development, reduced water flows at
natural springs, and seagrass loss.
Protection Measures Work!
Thanks to Save the
Manatee Club and your involvement, we have succeeded in building
world-wide awareness about manatees and the threats to their
existence, and we've fought for -- and won -- vastly improved manatee
and habitat protection measures. Our actions have resulted in much
better lives for manatees. Read about the highlights of
our activities by year.
Both the St. Johns River and the Crystal River/Kings Bay manatee
populations have had protection measures in place for decades.
Before that, manatees had it much
Flash back to 1970 again, when oceanographer Jacques Cousteau paid a
visit to Blue Spring to film a documentary about manatees. In a 2006
interview with me and Captain Cousteau's grandson, Philippe, Steve
Curwood, the host of the radio show Living on Earth, said
this about Blue Spring: "Pleasure boats jammed the creek that flows
out of the spring, and the eleven manatees that sought refuge in the
spring's warm waters were being harassed. Some people rode them with
rope harnesses; some animals had initials carved in their backs. Even
the youngest calves had propeller scars from collisions with boats
traveling too fast."
In 1972, Blue Spring became a state park and manatee refuge, and more
comprehensive boat speed zones were adopted throughout the St. Johns
River in 1991, thanks in large part to our strong advocacy
On the west coast of Florida, the Crystal River National Wildlife
Refuge was established in 1983 specifically for the protection of
endangered manatees. Over the years, with Save the Manatee Club's
help, additional sanctuaries were created.
|URGENT BREAKING NEWS: As
we were preparing to send this email to you, a group
calling itself Save Crystal River is planning to file a
Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service for adopting the permanent Kings Bay rule. The
group claims, in part, that the Marine Mammal Protection
Act (MMPA) does not apply to Florida state waters, despite
a federal court judge ruling in 2005 that the protection of
marine mammals is mandated by the MMPA in both state and
federal waters. Now, Save the Manatee Club must be ready to
go to court, not only to help defend the Service’s
additional manatee protections in Kings Bay, but everywhere
manatees are at risk, since a loss here in such a critical
place for manatees would mean the Service could not protect
manatees anywhere. Knowing this, other manatee opponents
are likely to join with this effort. Your continuing
financial support is desperately needed to ensure they do
not win. Read an earlier article about
the City of Crystal River’s and others’ efforts
to block additional manatee protection measures in the bay. See a chart of Kings Bay watercraft
mortality (pdf). Caution: Chart contains photos of
When protection measures are in place,
manatees can endure!
For the last several years, we've been working hard to
obtain improved protections for manatees in Kings Bay in Crystal
River. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, in mid-March, adopted a
permanent rule making all of Kings Bay a manatee refuge. Although the
rule fell short of what we advocated for, it dramatically enhanced
already existing regulations to protect manatees from boat strikes,
and it included additional provisions against harassing manatees by
divers and swimmers. The area is the winter home of over 500 manatees
and contains the most important warm-water springs for manatees on
the West Coast.
Watch Our Blue Spring
Manatee Adoptees 24/7
Earlier this year, we launched
our live manatee webcams at Blue Spring State Park. Now it is
possible to see Brutus or Merlin or many of the other manatees in
real time every day during the winter months. During the non-winter
months, we will be broadcasting recorded video of manatees and live
underwater and above-water scenes of other wildlife and habitat
features within the spring run and adjacent St. John's River.
Access the web cams.
This Earth Day, Celebrate Manatees With
1.Adopt our newest Blue Spring manatee adoptees, Annie, Rocket, and
Squeaky, for yourself or as gifts for friends and family.
Read more about them. Or adopt Brutus,
Merlin, or another real, living manatee in our Blue Spring adoption
program, or from our Tampa Bay, Alabama, Homosassa Springs, and East
Coast adoption programs. Adopt Now!
2. Donate to our Legal Fund so we can
defend against imminent lawsuits by selfish, callous opponents within
the radical group, Save Crystal River, against manatee protections in
Kings Bay, in Florida, and beyond.
3. Urge your friends and family members to join our efforts to
protect manatees in Kings Bay by sharing my letter with them via your
social networks and personal web site and ask them to donate to our
Legal Fund as well. They can go to www.savethemanatee.org/donation.
Thank you so much for your actions
today! Together, let's continue to build better, safer lives for
Aquatic Biologist, Executive Director
Save the Manatee Club
||You can make a donation now to help us fight for
manatees by clicking here or call us at 1-800-432-JOIN
(5646). Your gift will help fund conservation work to
protect endangered manatees and their habitat.