U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, 3rd Rev.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed the initial recovery plan for the West
Indian manatee in 1980. This plan focused primarily on manatees in Florida, but
included Antillean manatees in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1986, the
Service adopted a separate recovery plan for manatees in Puerto Rico. Then in 1989
the Service revised the original plan to reflect new information and planning needs
specifically focused on Florida manatees. This first revision covered a 5-year
planning period ending in 1994.
The Service revised and updated the plan again in 1996, which again covered a 5-
year planning period ending in 2000. In 1999, the Service initiated the process to
revise the plan for a third time. An 18-member recovery team, made up of both public
and private groups that have an interest in manatee recovery and/or could be affected
by proposed recovery actions, was established to assist the Service in drafting this
After reviewing and addressing public comments on our two previous drafts, the
Service has released the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, 3rd Revision.
In this revision to the manatee recovery plan, the Service recognizes that significant
progress has been made towards recovery and that the species may warrant
reclassification to threatened status, if recovery criteria are met and threats are
reduced or removed. Additionally, great care has been taken in this revision to
provide what the Service believes are “objective measurable criteria” which, when met,
would result in a determination that the species be removed from the list of threatened
and endangered species. These criteria set benchmarks for standard population
demographics such as survival and growth rate, that are a means to evaluate the
success of conservation measures to reduce or remove existing and long-term threats
to recovery. The recovery criteria specifically relate to the threats identified in the
Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) five (5) listing factors.
The Service published a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the
Draft of the 3rd Revision of the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan in November 2000.
Public comments were sought on this draft for a period of 60 days. On July 10, 2001,
an updated Draft was released with a comment period of 30 days. As a result of
comments received during these public comment periods in January and August,
significant changes were made to the final draft.
A copy of the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, 3rd Revision, is available for download
at our web site (http://northflorida.fws.gov). You can also find this factsheet and
Frequently Asked Questions at the site. If you have specific questions or need special
assistance, please contact the USFWS Jacksonville Field Office at 904-232-2580 ext.
Revised: October 30, 2001
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