JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District will conduct a public meeting, Sept. 1, to discuss the installation of Manatee Protection Systems (MPS) at the Moore Haven Lock on the Okeechobee Waterway. The meeting will be held in the South Florida Operations Office conference room, 525 Ridgelawn Rd., Clewiston, Fla., at 6 p.m. The formal portion of the meeting begins at 7 p.m. Technical experts will be available prior to, and after, the formal presentation to provide information and answer questions about the Manatee Pass Gates project.
The MPS detects the West Indian Manatee and prevents the gates from closing and harming the protected animal. The system uses an acoustic array that sends signals between sensors. If the signals of the sensors are interrupted by a manatee, the lock gates automatically stop. After a program delay to allow the obstruction to clear, the gates attempt to close again. If the obstruction is clear, the gate fully closes, if not, the gate will stop again.
Both the Marine Mammal Protection and the Endangered Species Acts require the Corps of Engineers to provide protection for these endangered animals. These laws make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine animal.
The Moore Haven Lock located on the west side of Lake Okeechobee at the junction with the Caloosahatchee River, will be closed Sept. 18 through Nov. 14.. The contractor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, will work as rapidly as possible and hopes to complete the project ahead of schedule to minimize adverse impacts to those who use the lock.
Navigation interests are urged to take the closure into consideration when planning their travel and operations. To see a video about how the MPS works, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQvYk-i57cU.
Release no. 11-46