Manatees in Southwest Florida

Protecting wintering manatees in Sarasota’s County’s Salt Creek and Warm Mineral Springs Creek 

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Manatee swimming

Manatees live on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, grazing on seagrass during the warmer months. When ocean waters dip below 68 degrees F, manatees have to seek out warmer water so they do not get hypothermia.

Sadly, manatees are considered threatened. In 2021, more than one thousand manatees died -- mostly in the Indian River Lagoon on the Atlantic Coast (southeast of Orlando). It’s important to keep manatees elsewhere in Florida as safe as possible.

On the Gulf Coast, in Southwest Florida, two creeks -- Warm Mineral Springs Creek and Salt Creek -- provide an important natural warm-water refuge, hosting more than than 125 manatees each winter.

During cooler months (November 15 - March 15), please help manatees in Sarasota County’s Warm Mineral Springs Creek and Salt Creek by:

Please call the FWC Alert Hotline 1-888-404-3922, if you see:

Recognizing the need to address overall creek health and to improve manatee habitat, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began construction on a $3.8 million-dollar project to restore roughly 6 acres of the creeks in 2021. The restoration project includes bank stabilization and dredging of sediment from the creek bottom to enhance and expand manatee habitat. While the creeks can be enjoyed in spring and summer, this area is a FWC No Entry Zone from November 15 – March 15. This allows manatees to access the warm-water refuge upstream without human disturbances, which can cause them to flee to colder waters that don’t have adequate thermal qualities and put their health at great risk.

The National Wildlife Federation is getting the word out about how we can keep these manatees safe thanks to a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

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