Unpaid Enforcement Mandated by USFWS
True to the original 2003 prediction, today USFWS only has 3 enforcement officers with a total enforcement budget of $500,000 yearly for the entire 24,750 acres of seized waters. However, the FWC enforcement arm of Florida waters – some 318,000 acres – has 700 enforcement officers.
Thus, USFWS expects to continue expanding and relying on the State to pay the enforcement tab.
Enforcement – An “unfunded mandate” upon FWC and Florida taxpayers
According to research supplied by FWC, the State receives no money from the Federal government “specifically focused on manatee enforcement“. FWC did receive, but still not under enforcement, the following: Over 33 months FWC received from Washington “$90,000 for manatee carcass recovery and investigation” and over 31 months “$40,000 for genetic identification in southwest Florida”. They did receive some “$290,000 for maintaining signs posting federal boat speed zones from the USFWS”. Thus, this $290,000 is indirectly related to enforcement but has nothing to do with enforcement staff and boats patrolling the water.
Florida also receives $8.3 million from the U.S. Coast Guard for “boating safety enforcement” and $3.6 million from Dept. of Commerce, NOAA for “fisheries enforcement”. Again, with zones of Florida waters 9 nautical miles seaward on the Gulf Coast and 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic, this money bears almost no relationship to Manatee protection areas. (Figures and descriptions supplied by Carol Knox, FWC)