Top Two Dangers to Manatees | Discover Crystal River

Top Two Dangers to Manatees

Together, we can help educate ourselves and our communities on ways to lessen our impact and ensure manatees are not harmed by our actions.

The top two dangers to manatees are directly related to humans and our impact on local ecosystems. 

While we continue to push forward with new and exciting ways to champion manatee conservation, there are still dangers that face manatees every day in the Crystal River area.

Food Shortages

Manatee’s primary freshwater food source is eelgrass, and as we’ve shared previously, eelgrass has been killed off in staggering numbers due to algae. The explosion of algae growth in our area is largely fueled by human waste and fertilizer runoff from lawns, farms, and surrounding developments.

As more and more people move to the region, higher amounts of wastewater have leaked into our beautiful estuaries, canals, and rivers. This directly impacts not only the manatee’s health but also the ecosystem they rely on for food and shelter in the cooler months.

Our local community is working diligently to help combat these pollution issues by implementing new policies such as switching from septic to sewer systems to deal with wastewater as well as removing the harmful algae and restoring the native grass species. These initiatives have made Crystal River a model eco-tourism destination for the rest of the state.

Irresponsible Boating

A recent study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows that only 4% of adult manatees observed show no sign of watercraft-related scars. As you can tell by this staggering statistic, boats pose one of the single largest dangers to manatees' health and safety.

When posted regulations and signage are not followed, this can result in physical harm to both manatees and their feeding grounds. This is why it’s incredibly important to always follow all posted signs and listed regulations and ensure responsible boating is practiced at all times.

Being a responsible boater in the Crystal River area includes following all posted speed signs, wearing polarized sunglasses while operating a boat, and observing all manatee speed zones and caution areas.

Thank you for your interest in helping support Manatee Conservation efforts in the Crystal River area. We will continue to update our Manatee Conservation Hub with up-to-date information, ways to get involved, and exciting Manatee-related news.


Discover Crystal River
Official Guide to Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida