Limehouse promotes manatee awareness

Limehouse promotes manatee awareness
August 23 12:59 2016 Print This Article

Responsding to several manatee deaths in South Carolina this summer, Rep. Chip Limehouse convened a meeting of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation to bring awareness to the issue.

Limehouse, a strong advocate for wildlife conservation during his 22-year legislative career, brought in experts from the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide information about manatees. An estimated 100 manatees swim in South Carolina waters during the summer months.

Manatees, marine mammals which range up to eight feet in length, spend most of the year in South Florida. The manatee population has increased from 1267 in 1991 to an estimated 6300 today. Some manatees get adventurous and swim north during the summer months and return to Florida when the water temperature falls to 68 degrees.

DNR administrator Robert Boyles suggests that boaters wear polarized sunglasses to improve visibility below the surface and operate at slow speeds in shallow water. He noted that the murky water in our area makes it difficult to see manatees swimming below the surface. DNR encourages boaters to report manatee sightings at dnr.sc.gov.

Limehouse proposed posting signs in shallow waters and doing public service announcements to make boaters more aware of manatees in our area. He pointed to legislation he crafted to protect sea turtles and red drum fish as success stories which stabilized the populations of those animals.