Special Status Species

The Corps coordinates efforts with state and federal agencies to cooperatively monitor and protect seven endangered species and numerous species of concern throughout Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway, including the Florida manatee, Bald Eagle, Florida Snail Kite, eastern indigo snake, Crested Caracara, Wood Stork, and the Okeechobee gourd. All management activities on the project lands and waters are planned to minimize adverse impacts.

One specific example of cooperative management for endangered species is the effort underway for protecting the Florida manatee. The Corps partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal, state and local agencies to implement and incorporate recommended actions to protect the Florida manatee. These actions include:

  • Screens placed on lock gates to prevent access to sector gate recesses
  • Reduced lock gate closure speeds
  • Establishment of spillway gate operational protocols
  • Installation of grates on lock chamber floors
  • Barriers on spillway gates
  • Acoustic array systems on lock gates
  • Piezo-electric strips on vertical lift gates
  • Manatee watch program and a public outreach program

These actions result in less risk to the manatee and a balance and synergy among human development activities and natural systems. As a partner in the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, the Jacksonville District is committed to meeting its charge under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by reducing risk to manatees caused by Corps water control structures.

For more information concerning the contents of this page, call 863-983-8101, ext. 267 or e-mail SFOO@usace.army.mil.

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