Manatees, people compete for warm waters in Florida spring

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Wildlife officials say they’re trying to give manatees more space in a Florida spring also popular with swimmers and kayakers.

Hundreds of manatees congregate during winter months at the Three Sisters Springs in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Manager Andrew Gude said Monday that manatees often compete for space with people who also enjoy the warm waters in the 1.5-acre springs.

Wildlife officials have proposed some interim measures to protect the manatees this winter, including spring closures when temperatures drop and the number of manatees increases. Areas where kayaks could be secured to reduce crowding in the springs also have been installed. Officials also want to restrict flash photography of the large marine mammals.

Public comment on the interim measures is open for 14 days.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.