Save Florida's Manatees From Development

  • by: Center for Biological Diversity
  • recipient: Secretary Herschel T. Vineyard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Director Donald Forgione, Florida Park Service
Your help is needed to save Florida's deepest spring and the incredible animals that live there.

Wakulla Spring, the largest and deepest spring in the United States, is habitat for endangered manatees and unique crustaceans. The manatees, plus four special species of crayfish and amphipod that live in the spring and connected underground caves, and are now under threat from development and recreation.

The state of Florida is considering opening the spring to recreational diving, which would threaten the survival of the species that call the spring home. Springs are important habitats for manatees, and the loss of springs like Wakulla are contributing to the manatee's decline; diving in particular is known to be very disruptive to them.

Please sign our petition to Florida officials asking them to keep in place the current policy, which protects Wakulla Spring from development and recreational impacts.
SUBJECT: Protect Wakulla Spring from Recreational Diving

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to express opposition to opening Wakulla Spring of Wakulla Springs State Park to recreational diving and to oppose increased development around the springs.

I am concerned about the impacts that opening the spring to recreational diving would have on endangered manatees and on four aquatic species that are under consideration for Endangered Species Act protect -- the Woodville Karst cave crayfish, Florida cave amphipod and Hobb's cave amphipod.

The current policy, which has been in place for 26 years, prohibits recreational diving in Wakulla Spring and offers the soundest, proven best management for the spring. We urge the Florida Park Service, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the governor to keep the existing policy in place, as it is essential to protect the nationally significant cultural, scientific and biological features of Wakulla Spring.

I recommend that the Park continue with its prudent policy of only allowing limited, specially permitted dives for scientific research in Wakulla Springs and that the Park otherwise keep this area off-limits to recreational diving.

Thank you for taking my comments into consideration.
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