Lee County works with our State and Federal partners to protect the numerous manatees that inhabit our waters. The links below are resources for residents and visitors to learn about Lee County's efforts to protect the manatee, and to learn how you can do your part to help the County with protection efforts.
Vessel Speed Restrictions
Manatee speed zones in Lee County are rules that were established by state and federal agencies to restrict the speed and operation of vessels where necessary to protect manatees from harmful collisions with vessels and from harassment. Regulations can limit entry, allowable activities and vessel speed. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is authorized to adopt these rules by the Manatee Sanctuary Act, 379.2431(2), Florida Statutes (FS). The rules appear in Chapter 68C-22 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to adopt these rules by the Endangered Species Act. Local rules can also add restrictions for boating safety reasons.
Manatee Protection Plan
As one of 13 original "key counties," Lee County was required by the state of Florida to develop a Manatee Protection Plan. This Plan, approved in 2004, is organized to present a discussion of manatees and an analysis of manatee abundance in Lee County. An evaluation of boating activity, and the identification of evaluation criteria for the development or expansions of boat facilities follows. Finally, thresholds and policies are presented to outline Boat Facility siting criteria in Lee County and define how the plan is to be used and how preferred boat facility projects differ from non-preferred projects. Use of the plan depends heavily on a geographic information system (GIS) analysis, which is regularly updated as new data become available.
Download a copy of the Lee County Manatee Protection Plan.
For questions about the plan or to request a GIS evaluation of your boating project, contact us via email or by calling 239-533-8109.