FWC focus on Indian River Lagoon as feeding efforts continue to save manatees

Many manatees depend on warm water in the lagoon

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Florida, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission workers along with other organizations said they are hoping the warm weather will help with manatee mortality in the state.

Officials said the focus continues to be on the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County due to lack of seagrass.

[TRENDING: Kohl’s says it’s no longer a department store | Can a Florida trooper pull you over ANYWHERE? | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Workers explained during the colder winter months, many manatees depend on warm water in the Indian River Lagoon.

“Specifically, in the past month, six weeks, most of our efforts have been in the east central part of the state the Indian River in Brevard County is where our most workload has been,” Major James Bonds with FWC said.

According FWC, starvation is the cause of most deaths in manatees.

“I haven’t seen the most recent seagrass survey but that will be an indication on what to expect if the seagrass surveys continue to show either decline or low levels, I would anticipate still having issues with starvation,” Andy Garrett with FWC said.

Organizers said they collected thousands of pounds of romaine lettuce to help with manatee starvation.

“The 110,000 pounds of food that’s been provided for manatees, that’s quite the accomplishment, it wouldn’t be possible without the Fish and Wildlife Foundation,” Tom Reinert with FWC said.

According to the FWC 2022 Manatee Mortality Table, a total of 375 manatees have died since January 2022.

Click here to see mortality report.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!