Ft. Myers, Florida
Old Ft. Myers Court House

FDEP currently is reviewing the FPL permit request to discharge once-through cooling water into the Orange River in Ft. Myers. Standing Watch has requested a hearing in Ft. Myers with FDEP, FWC, USFWS, EPA and FPL present so we can express our concerns and get answers to our questions about the impact of the discharge of this water on water quality, manatees, and fisheries habitat.
Standing Watch has asked FDEP and other permit=review agencies to come to Ft. Myers to hear concerns about the re-issuance of FPL Warm Water Discharge 5-Year permit for the FPL Ft. Myers plant.
The public hearing is to be held in Ft. Myers on October 15. IT IS CRITICAL THAT STANDING WATCH MEMBERS PLAN TO ATTEND SOME OR ALL OF THIS HEARING to express your concerns about the impact warm water discharges have on manatees as well as the surrounding habitat. In addition, you can submit your questions for these agencies in advance by contacting us at: [email protected].
Electric power plants are regulated by a number of federal and state laws including the federal Clean Water Act. The plant needs a permit to discharge the once-through cooling water because under the federal Clean Water Act permits are necessary for any wastewater discharges. Once-through cooling water is considered to be wastewater. Because the once-thorough cooling water is discharged into the Orange River and because manatees (an endangered species) are present, the federal Clean Water Act requires FPL to have a Manatee Protection Plan in place.
The MPP says that in the winter time when the ambient temperature of the receiving body of water, the Orange River, gets below 61 degrees then power plant must endeavor to maintain the water in the discharge canal at 68 degrees.
Standing Watch1s Concerns:
Standing Watch is concerned that warm water discharges create an unnatural attraction for manatees and cause them to alter their behavior patterns. In Standing Watch1s opinion, causing the animals to alter their behavior can be considered a "take" and therefore would be illegal under the Endangered Species Act.
In addition, we are concerned that maintaining the water at a constant 68 degrees encourages manatees to congregate which degrades the quality of the water in the discharge canal, the Orange River and the Caloosahatchee River. Significant concentrations of manatees can cause a higher bacteria count in these waters which can, in turn, result in disease and sickness in the animal population. Diseased or sick animals are less able to get out of the way of watercraft
Additionally, manatees must travel 12 miles up river to reach the warm water and there is little or no food for them. Thus, they become weak and cold-stressed and are more likely to be hit by watercraft as they travel back to the Caloosahatchee.
Standing Watch also is concerned that no research has been done to determine whether the warm water being discharged might have contributed to or been the direct cause of the occurrence of red tide.
It is our opinion that 25% to 30% of the manatee deaths which occur each year in Southwest Florida waters are as a result of these poor water quality conditions and lack of adequate food sources.
Since manatee mortality is now linked to water access in SW Florida, Standing Watch remains concerned that the economy of the SW Florida region and the ability of the citizens of the region to enjoy their waterways is being seriously jeopardized by the creation of this unnatural warm water refuge.
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO LOG ONTO OUR WEB SITE; WWW.STANDING-WATCH.ORG AND SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS FOR FDEP, FFWCC STAFF, USFWS AND EPA. Standing Watch will submit these questions prior to the public hearing and ask that the appropriate agency respond during the hearing.


THANK EACH OF YOU for all your efforts on behalf of boaters and boater's rights in the Tampa Bay area.
Even though the public hearing was held Tuesday, August 26, there are a lot of additional steps that must be taken before any rule affecting Tampa Bay is finally adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC).
Here is a timeline of the rule makign process so you will know what steps this proposal will take and upon what approximate dates actions may be taken on the proposal.
As you may know, the Local Rule Review Committee (LRRC) was created to review a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) staff proposal for additional speed zones in Tampa Bay. The staff made the proposal because of a settlement to a law suit brought by Save the Manatee Club and others saying the state is not doing enough to protect manatees. Under the settlement agreement, the FFWCC must review and consider additional manatee protection zones in Tampa Bay (and Lee County). NOW: HERE IS THE TIME LINE FOR WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NEXT:
1. By Sept. 15, the Local Rule Review Committee's report will be sent to the FFWCC. At that time, it also will be made public. Standing Watch will publish the proposal as quickly as we can or provide a link on this web site for you to review the proposal.
The state law allows "minority reports" to be written in response to the committee's report. These reports can either be written by members of the committee of other affected parties. Those reports also become a part of the information circulated to the Commissioners by the staff.
Standing Watch reserves the right to submit a minoritiy report if we feel that is appropriate. We need to hear from you about specifics of the proposed plan and how those proposed Zones affect boating in your area.
2. The FFWCC Commission meeting during the days of November 19 - 21 is when the FFWCC will review the plan proposed by the staff as well as the LRRCs work product and any minority reports which have been received. That meeting will take place in Duck Key/Florida Keys. We do not yet know which of these three days the plan will be on the Commission agenda. We will post that information as soon as it has been determined by FFWCC staff.3. Having reviewed the staff proposal and any other documents received, the FFWCC can take one of three steps during the November meeting:
a. direct the staff to use their original plan and publish a "notice
of rule development" to the general public which will say FFWCC intends to institute the original zones the staff proposed.
b. direct the staff to use the LRRC plan and publish a "notice of rule development" to the general public which says the FFWCC intends to institute the zones suggested by the LRRC
c. make some modifications to both proposals and direct staff to publish a "notice of rule development", with the changes noted, to the general public that says the hybrid they come up with will be the zones for Tampa Bay.
4. Once the plan is published,in the Florida Administrative Weekly and most probably on the FFWCC web site, workshop(s) will be held in the Tampa Bay area for public input. Other workshop sites also may be included in the public comment time. Standing Watch will let you know all dates and times for all workshops regardless of where they will be held. The workshop(s) will be more formal than the committee working group has been. FFWCC staff will take testimony from the public but there probably won't be the "give and take" of the working group. We anticipate workshop(s) will be held in December/January. Depending on what the proposed plan looks like, as affected boaters you either will want to show up at the public hearings to support the piece that affects you, or show up and urge the state to change the piece that affects you to better reflect what is a fair and balanced approach to manatee protection and boater's rights.
5. After the public hearings, the staff will have an opportunity to make adjustments to the plan and then take it back to the FFWCC for its final approval. Whether they make adjustments or not, the plan will again be public and we will circulate it to our members through this web site. The final FFWCC approval will probably happen in February at the FFWCC February meeting.
SOOOOOOO, you see the process is a long one!
But Standing Watch will be there every step of the way and you will know what's going on at each juncture. We will post the more specific information about the proposed zones/times,dates,places of public hearings/action items for you as boaters to consider doing to help make this plan fair and balanced between boater's rights and manatee protection.


Manatee County has been designated as an "area of inadequate protection" for manatees and an ordinance 03-57 is being drafted to address the manatee protection issue. Concerned boaters and Sarasota plumbing experts and related parties need to be involved to
insure that the new ordinance makes common sense.
For example one proposal creates extensive speed zones
in areas where there has never been a manatee death. This
does not pass the common sense test for most rational people.
There are proposals to amend the ordinance that:
a.. will have little or no value to the manatee protection
b.. will be impossible to enforce
c.. will be economically damaging to the business community and property owners
d.. will have a major negative impact on the boating community and the local economy
•.. Manatee population has been increasing by 5.4% to 7 % per year for the past 20 years.
• .. Manatee population has grown by 100% in the last ten years.
•.. Manatee population Growth is Documented by Florida State Surveys
•.. Manatee population growth locally documented by Mote Marine Survey prepared for Sarasota County that shows the manatee population doubling from 1987 to 1998.
•.. For the past ten- year period deaths from watercraft in Manatee county have been only 1.6 per year
a.. Some of the proposed extensive no wake speed zone areas there have never been any watercraft related manatee deaths.
a.. Manatees are expected to be removed from the endangered status this year becausetheir endangered status is no longer appropriate


Please send a letter or E-mail (contact information at end of
alert) to the Manatee County Commission, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Florida's Governor as soon as possible and no later than September 25, 2003. Tell them:

as a conservationist and a boater you support:
1.. Minimal additional regulation because the manatee population in Manatee
County is growing and local Watercraft mortality has been relatively low at 1.6 per year for the past ten years.
2. Braden River: You support the plan proposed by many of the actual Braden river residents and endorsed by local law enforcement officials and by POWER, the local water
use group in which the channel is open to regular boating . Note that there has been only one manatee death in the Braden river in 29 years.
3. You DO support the creation of large, exempted, high-speed
recreational areas in Manatee County.
4. You do NOT support regulating waters within the 6-foot contour depth line as slow speed.
5. You do NOT support additional slow speed zones, they are not justified by the facts.
6. Shoreline buffer zones should be LIMITED to a maximum 100'.
7. You DO support "Normal Safe Operation" in the channels.

Contact Information:Honorable Jonathan Bruce_
P.O. Box 1000_
Bradenton, FL 34206-1000
[email protected]"
Ken Haddad, Executive Director
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 South Meridian Street_
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
[email protected] Hamilton, Regional Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
[email protected] Jeb Bush, Governor_
The Capitol _
Tallahassee, FL 32399 _
[email protected]" Thanks for helping boaters and manatees receive common sense solutions that they


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