Thursday, February 4, 2016

SCF Action Team Forming: Manatees at risk of downlisting!‏

Dear manatee lovers:

A Sierra Club Florida Action Team is being formed--
Candidates needed

Manatees in Florida are at risk of being downlisted!
Sierra Club Florida needs to assemble a team of members to become oriented to the facts, understand the club’s position and guide our engagement with the recently reactivated Manatee Coalition. We’re building an action-oriented team. We need players and coaches on the field. Would you consider contributing to this effort?
Underwater view of manatee
surfacing to take a breath
Photo: USGS Sirenia Project
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed downlisting the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It is hard to see how the FWS justifies this move despite the agency's findings that "population trends are declining or unknown in 84% of the countries where manatees are found." Before any downlisting should proceed in Florida, there’s need for a credible plan for further reducing mortality and preserving/enhancing warm-water habitat availability (many sites manatees adopt are future-to-be-closed power plant cooling warm-water outflows) and establishing an updated Recovery Plan with successive goals.
Further, two recent, massive die-offs of hundreds of manatees are not addressed in FWS analysis. There were catastrophic manatee losses from long cold snaps and poisonous red tide blooms from 2010 through 2013—and another algae bloom is looming in the Indian River. The FWS analytical model also does not account for loss of habitat due to water-side development.
If you would consider joining the Sierra Club Florida action team being assembled to address these concerns, engage with the Manatee Coalition and to lead action, please contact Florida Chapter Conservation Chair, Tom Larson, with information about your interest and skills: Tom.Larson@Florida.SierraClub.org