Second Round of Manatee Avoidance Technology Grants Awarded - 2004

Funding selections have been made for new research project proposals that seek technological solutions to reduce collisions between manatees and watercraft.

Background:

In 2001, the Florida Legislature appropriated $200,000 in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund (MRCTF) to fund research projects that directly address the problem of collisions between manatees and watercraft and seek to reduce collisions using technological solutions. Section 370.0603 F.S., provides, in part, that "The Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall serve as a broad-based depository for funds from various marine-related activities and shall be administered by the commission for the purposes of funding for marine research." Technological solutions proposed under the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology Grant Program should be consistent with Florida Statutes, the federal Endangered Species Act, and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, and should not cause an unauthorized take of manatees.

Topics Eligible for Funding:
Topics eligible for funding through the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology Grant Program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Technology designed to alert manatees to the presence of oncoming watercraft so the animals can modify their behavior to avoid collisions
  2. Technology designed to alert boaters to the presence of manatees to enable boaters to avoid manatees without changing the behavior of the animals
  3. Hull or propulsion-system design or technology which may reduce the risk of manatee-watercraft collisions or minimize injuries to the animals in the event of a collision; other technology designed to reduce the risk of manatee-watercraft collisions or minimize injuries to the animals in the event of a collision
  4. Research on manatees to obtain data required for avoidance technology development-can be studies about manatee hearing, sound production, and responses to boat noise including, but not limited, to behavioral and anatomical approaches-total annual funding in this category limited to $50,000


The Request for Proposals is currently closed. However, we expect to post another request for proposals in June, pending budgetary appropriation.


Funds appropriated by the Florida legislature for the Florida Manatee Avoidance Technology initiative have been awarded through a request-for-proposals (RFP) grant process administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

The institute solicited proposals for development of technology designed to reduce the number of manatees hit by boats. The panel of experts chosen to review the proposals consisted of representatives from the environmental community, boating community, wildlife management, law enforcement, and biologists. The proposals the panel selected for funding are designed to explore technology that has not previously been applied to the manatee-boat collision problem and include concepts related to voice recognition, manatee sound localization, and infrared technology.

Of seven proposals submitted, three were selected for funding. The following list displays the ranks of the proposals selected for funding and the amounts awarded.

 

Ranking Bidders Amount Requested Funding allocated
1 University of Florida $150,000 $150,000
Continuation of work on passive acoustic detection of manatee sounds to alert boaters
working to perfect a system that detects the presence of manatees by passively detecting their vocalizations and incidental sounds and using this information to alert boaters through a warning system

Final Report (463 KB)
PDF File-Requires Adobe Reader to view

 

2 University of South Florida #1 $149,630 $132,287
Baseline research to measure the abilities of manatees to localize sounds from boats and other sources

Final Report (1.28 MB)
PDF File-Requires Adobe Reader to view

 

3 Nova Southeastern University #2 $19,994 $19,994
Development of an underwater infrared camera to detect manatees
continuation of research to design an infrared system to detect manatees

Final Report (317 KB)
PDF File-Requires Adobe Reader to view

 

4 University of South Florida #2 $150,000 $0

 

5 Wildlife Trust $82,215 $0

 

6 Nova Southeastern University #1 $25,770 $0

 

7
Xavier University
$144,373
$0

 

In addition to the projects funded thru the RFP process, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute funded Florida Atlantic University's Dr. Ed Gerstein to continue to test his device that may alert manatees to oncoming boats.

Final Report (7.87 MB)
PDF File - Requires Adobe Reader to view


Prior to July 1, 2004, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute was known as the Florida Marine Research Institute. The institute name has not been changed in historical articles and articles that directly reference work done by the Florida Marine Research Institute.



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