Public Contact With Manatees May Be Cut


CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (AP) _ Federal wildlife officials could further limit the number of swimmers allowed in Crystal River’s Three Sisters Springs during peak manatee season in Citrus County.

The Tampa Tribune reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has tentatively decided to reduce the number of swimmers to 13 at any one time after conducting a study and consulting with other officials, including the U.S. Coast Guard.

Wildlife officials had originally proposed limiting the number of swimmers in Three Sisters to 29.

Crystal River City Manager Dave Burnell says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife will decide by the end of December or early next year whether to make the number official.

The Crystal River/King’s Bay area is home to 70 springs and is a winter refuge for manatees on the Florida Gulf Coast.