Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Save Crystal River from what?
A. From the Federal Government seizing Kings Bay and all navigable water landward from the headwaters of the Crystal River which gives it the power to regulate and restrict all waterborne activities – Boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, etc. This seizure took place on March 16, 2012 and it is our objective to remove Federal Control of Kings Bay and surrounding canals and navigable waters.
This seizure will negatively affect the Citrus County economy.
Kings Bay also needs to be protected from degradation from man made actions which make the water less than its traditional “crystal clear” nature.
Q. How has the USFWS increased it’s regulatory control in Kings Bay over time?
A. Click here to see timeline of regulations imposed. Timeline.pdf
Q. What are the Manatee Mortality Statistics for Kings Bay over the past 36 years?
A. Click here to see the statistical analysis of data from the FWC website. Manatee Mortality Statistics
Q. What is an “Endangered Species”?
A. According to the “Endangered Species Act” 16 USC 1532(6) it is “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range..”
Q. What is a “Threatened Species”?
A. When the population of a species is declining such that it may become endangered in the foreseeable future. 16 USC 532(20) “..any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future..”
Q. Is the Florida Manatee “endangered”?
A. Not according to the 2007 study by the US F&WS, nor the 2007 study that same year by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Both these studies recommended downlisting the Manatee to Threatened. [Link to Downlist Summary Page] At that time, the best estimates by these agencies were a count of some 3,600 manatees in Florida waters. Their latest estimates at the end of 2010 were some 5,600 manatees. This is approximately a 55% increase in 4 years.
Q. What is the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)?
A. Known as the MMPA, in its lightest form, this law prohibits “take” by disturbing any marine mammal. In its most lenient form, “take” can mean any harassment or disturbance of a marine mammal. Manatees, dolphins, porpoises and whales are all “marine mammals”.
Q. What is “take” of a manatee?
A. In its lightest form, “take” is defined as disturbing a manatee.
Q. What is the ESA?
A. The Endangered Species Act 16 USC 1531 – 1544
Q. What are manatee refuges and sanctuaries?
A. The Service can establish manatee protection areas for the purpose of preventing the take of manatees. Manatee protection areas can be either manatee refuges or manatee sanctuaries. Manatee refuges are areas where certain waterborne activities are restricted to prevent the taking of one or more manatees. Manatee sanctuaries are areas in which all waterborne activities are prohibited.
Within a manatee refuge the waterborne activities that may be restricted include, but are not limited to, swimming, diving (including skin and scuba diving), snorkeling, water skiing, surfing, fishing, and the use of water vehicles (including boats, personal watercraft, and other vehicles used to move across or underneath the water’s surface.
The Kings Bay manatee refuge joins an existing federal manatee protection network of 11 sanctuaries and 13 refuges throughout Florida.
Q. How has USFWS advanced their Regulatory Control over Kings Bay over time?
A. See attached timeline.
Q. What is USFWS?
A. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service which is under the US Department of the Interior whose current Secretary is Ken Salazar.
Q. What is FWC, or FFWCC?
A. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission which was created by a Florida Constitutional Amendment in 1998. The FWC has traditionally had the regulatory authority over Florida waters regarding the Manatee. The FWC generally sets speed limits in Florida waters where manatees frequent.
Q. What is the Cooperative Agreement and what’s wrong with it?
A. Required by the ESA, a “Cooperative Agreement” is an agreement which sets out the terms between two parties – The State of Florida which has the authority to regulate its own natural resources in Florida waters, and the USFWS which has authority to enforce the ESA and MMPA. Regarding the Manatee, a Florida natural resource, both agencies have the authority to enforce harassment laws, or “take” by disturbing a manatee.
Q. Are there limits on the size of the temporary no-entry areas?
A. Yes. The distances outlined below are the maximum extent conservation managers may mark boundaries. Boundaries will be marked by buoys, float lines, signs, advisories from onsite Service employees and their designees, or other methods.
- For Buzzard Island, Tarpon Springs, Magnolia Springs, Warden Key, Banana Island, and Sunset Shores Manatee Sanctuaries: to a distance not to exceed 100 feet from the existing sanctuary boundary.
- For Three Sisters Sanctuary: to a distance not to exceed 400 feet from the existing boundary. The Service does not intend to completely mark off the man-made channel. Expansions could occur directly around the existing sanctuary and north into the area locally known as Three Sisters Springs.
- For House Spring and Jurassic Spring: not to exceed 100 feet from the associated spring vents.
- For Idiot’s Delight Number 2 Spring: not to exceed 25 feet from the associated spring vent. Any temporary designation will be configured to avoid the man-made channel in the canal and will not block access into Three Sisters Springs.
Q. How will the manatee protection area affect private lands or other land-owners?
A. Manatee protection areas are designated in the water and do not involve land acquisitions or land parcels. Public and private waterfront property owners, their guests, employees, and their designees (including but not limited to contractors and lessees), who own, visit or occupy property that adjoins designated no-entry areas, will continue to be able to access their property by obtaining, at no charge, an exception from the Crystal River NWR (CRNWR) that will allow them to operate watercraft within the adjoining no-entry area for purposes of access and property maintenance. CRNWR will continue to provide adjoining property owners and their designees with a no-cost sticker or letter of authorization that identifies their watercraft as authorized to access no-entry areas. Watercraft owned by excepted owners would be required to be marked by stickers and operate at idle speed while operating within a designated no-entry area. Designees with a letter of authorization would be required to have a copy of the letter in their possession and operate at idle speed while operating within a designated no-entry area.
Q. Will waterfront owners on Kings Bay whose property does not adjoin a designated no-entry area be required to get a sticker or letter? What about other users of Kings Bay?
A. No in both instances. The sticker and letter system only applies to those owners whose property on Kings Bay adjoins a designated no-entry area.