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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
August 2014
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


Donate Now!
Our dedicated Board of Directors, members and allies are committed to guaranteeing the future of our economically-precious treasures that are in critical danger here in the Keys. Please join us as a member, renew your membership or volunteer with us.

Boater's Guide to Living with Manatees

The largest cause of human-related manatee mortality in Florida is watercraft collision. Manatee deaths from watercraft are caused by propeller cuts, impact or both. These injuries, however, are not always lethal. Many manatees have scars on their backs or tails from surviving collisions with boats.
Florida Manatees
Manatees may not always detect approaching boats and also may not be able to successfully evade or avoid a boat that is detected. Some circumstances, such as mothers with calves or having cold stress syndrome, can increase the chances of a manatee-boat collision. 
  • Have someone on your boat look out for manatees while underway and give them plenty of room. Even if you only see one animal, it is likely traveling with others (possibly even a calf) that you may not see.
  • Look for a "manatee footprints" -- circular wave patterns left on the surface of the water by the manatee’s tail as it swims underwater.
  • Try not to pass directly over manatees or separate mothers and calves.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and help you see manatees under water.
  • Be aware that manatees in shallow areas will frequently move into the channels when they hear boats approach. Although this behavior provides deeper water for manatees, it may put them in the path of traveling boats.
  • Do not provide food and water to manatees, as doing so teaches them to seek out human interaction and brings them into close contact with boats.
  • Keep unwanted plastics, monofilament line, rope and other fishing gear out of the water by discarding them properly. These items frequently injure, entangle and kill manatees.
If you see an entangled or distressed manatee, do not try rescuing it yourself. Report collisions with manatees, because early rescue efforts may save the animal’s life. Call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC and stay with the manatee until help arrives.

Protecting Our Water
Water Quality Protection Program Celebrates 30 Years

Good water quality is critical to the health of coral reefs and all the habitats of the FKNMS. Changes in water quality, including increases in levels of specific nutrients, can have serious negative effects on marine life.
Water Quality Monitoring Network
To better understand how humans impact water quality and affect sanctuary habitats, the Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP) was created by the U.S. EPA and Florida DEP in 1994. The program is designed to make recommendations about how to maintain and restore the ideal water quality needed for healthy native plant and animal populations to thrive in sanctuary waters. The program also includes coral reef monitoring and seagrass monitoring, as well as special studies such as groundwater seepage, the effects of mosquito-control measures on non-target animals, human pathogens in canals, and the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on marine life.
Water quality is based on many factors, including the levels of specific nutrients — nitrogen and phosphate — that are often found in high concentrations in wastewater and stormwater. If the levels of these nutrients get too high, it put stress on marine organisms, making them more prone to disease and death. Scientists from Florida International University have been collecting water quality samples at 154 sites throughout the Florida Keys since 1995.
Information from these long-term monitoring programs provides insight into the complex balance of the marine ecosystem in the Florida Keys. This information also allows researchers and managers to detect any changes in the sanctuary from upstream influences and how sanctuary waters are influenced by activities outside the Florida Keys. Florida International University operates a network of 340 fixed sampling sites distributed throughout the estuarine and coastal ecosystems of south Florida to address concerns in regional water quality that cross and overlap political boundaries.

Thank You, Volunteers!

Sanctuary Friends would like to thank Boy Scout Troop 265 of Flower Mound, Texas, for their volunteer service this summer. The troop worked on landscaping the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center as part of their community service requirements. This is the Troop's second visit to help out, and we hope to see them again next year!
Boy Scout Troop Volunteers
If your group or club (or you as an individual) would like to volunteer to help preserve and restore the coral reef ecosystem that surrounds the Florida Keys, we have many opportunities available. One of the most popular ways to help out is to participate in a beach cleanup, either by foot or by kayak. We support Team OCEAN, a volunteer program through the FKNMS that frequently schedules beach cleanups to collect marine debris from Sanctuary waters. As a Team OCEAN volunteer, you will provide on-the-water education and information aimed at protecting sanctuary resources while enriching the experiences of visitors to Sanctuary and make a difference in the health of the ecosystem.
Additionally, Sanctuary Friends needs volunteers to help with the management of buoy banks, updating the Florida Keys Environmental Calendar, putting up posters to advertise events and helping out at our “Friends in Focus” environmental movie nights.
If one of these opportunities interests you or If you have a special talent you would like to share, contact us through our online form or call 305-289-2288. All volunteers are asked to keep track of their hours and let SFFFK know how much time they have donated. These hours will help us in applying for grants, so any amount of time you give has even more impact than you may ever know!


Dolphin & Whale 911

Introducing the new Dolphin & Whale 911 app to enhance accurate and timely reporting of stranded marine mammals in the Southeastern U.S.!
One of the main challenges in providing protection, conservation, and management of marine mammals is the lack of public awareness about how to report them when stranded. When the public is unaware how to contact their local Stranding Network, response can be delayed, compromising the animals' chances of survival and/or limiting the amount of valuable data collected from dead animals. The new Dolphin & Whale 911 app provides this valuable information on smartphones, including a colorful species identification guide, so the public will know who to call and what to do when they find a sick, injured or dead marine mammal, thus contributing to marine mammal conservation. 

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In This Issue:
Protecting Manatees
Water Quality Protection Program
Volunteer Thank You
Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Please add your upcoming events to our online Florida Keys Environmental Calendar. This community-wide resource allows any organization or group to set up an account and post environmentally-related events.

REEF, Fish & Friends Seminar
TODAY! Aug. 12, 7 pm, REEF Headquarters, MM 98.3, Key Largo
Free lecture on the second Tuesday of every month. This month, Aileen Soto, Education and Outreach Coordinator for Aquarius Reef Base, will discuss "Life Aquarius." Social begins at 6:30 p.m.

Water Quality Protection Program Steering Committee Meeting
August 14, 9 am-4 pm, Marathon Government Center,
 2798 Overseas Highway, MM50,
The Committee makes recommendations on how to maintain and restore the ideal water quality needed for healthy native plant and animal populations to thrive in sanctuary waters. Meetings are held twice a year and are open to the public.

FKNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) Meeting
August 19, 9 am-4:45 pm, Hilton Key Largo Resort, 97000 Overseas Highway, Key Largo
The SAC provides advice regarding management of the FKNMS. All meetings are open to the public and include morning and afternoon public comment periods. This month’s agenda focuses on ecosystem protection and developing an environmental impact statement. Download the draft agenda.

Welcome! Thank you for your support!

New & Returning Members ($30-$199)

Nancy Gold



Tom Davidson


Rachel Bowman

Richard Worthington

Joseph DiFilippo

Please support the companies that support the FKNMS and Sanctuary Friends.
Waste Management
Marathon Garbage Service
Keys Sanitary
Sunbelt Rentals
Cressi International
Marathon Jet Center
Centennial Bank
First State Bank
Little Palm Island Resort
The Weekly Newspapers
Conch Color
Papa's Pilar Rum
Ocean Reef Club
Diver's Direct
Marathon Boat Yard
Grader Mike Construction
Marathon Chamber of Commerce
A Deep Blue Dive Center
Paver Dave
Keys Contracting Services
Florida Keys Contractor’s Association
Bee Brothers
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
Hard Rock Cafe
Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa
SHOR Restaurant
Westin's Bistro 245
Key West Express
FURY Water Adventures
Dunkin' Donuts
JSA Promotions

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Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef ecosystem, from the uplands to the deep sea. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization
(Tax ID# 59-2443959).
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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
Located at the at the historic Crane House at Crane Point Museum and Hammock
Mailing Address:
PO Box 504301
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
PO Box 504301
Marathon, FL 33050

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