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Gardening for Manatees

In case you haven’t heard, we’re fundraising to support FWC’s and USFWS’s supplemental feeding for manatees this winter. So far we’ve raised just over $80,000 of our $180,000 goal. But there’s more you can do to support Florida manatees, and hundreds of other species, without donating.

Florida’s waters are crucial to our state’s economy, but more importantly, our native wildlife. Hundreds of species need healthy water to raise their young, take refuge, and simply live. Sadly, poor water quality in the form of high nitrogen and phosphorus levels has decimated aquatic vegetation and killed fish. When fertilizers, which can contain nitrogen and phosphorus, are misused on Florida lawns, they contribute to poor water quality. Luckily, planting a native yard can help.

Gone are the days of pristinely trimmed St. Augustine grass. By planting native species such as gulf cordgrass and Fakahatchee grass, you can reduce the need for lawn chemicals. Bring native flowers like blackeyed-susans and gaillardia for the added bonus of attracting important pollinator species.

Need more ideas for native plants? Check out this list by UF/IFAS or the Florida Native Plant Society suggestions, both complete with photos so you can visualize your new native wildlife refuge.

If you’re unable to plant a native yard, here are some other ways to prevent harm to Florida’s water:

  • Eliminate the use of lawn chemicals (e.g., fertilizer, pesticide).
  • Pick up dog waste.
  • Don’t blow leaves and grass clippings into the street or gutters; leave them on your lawn.
  • Wash your car on the grass or use a commercial car wash.
  • Switch from septic systems to municipal sewer.
  • Update and repair septic systems if municipal sewer is unavailable.

Already hosting a native wildlife refuge in your own front yard? Become a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation or a Florida-Friendly Yard through University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Join us for all things manatee Thursday, January 19th at 12:00 p.m. EST for our Manatee Biologist Conversation with FWC Imperiled Management Species Section Leader Ron Mezich and Biological Administrator Michelle Pasawicz.

Click here to join.

Meeting ID: 840 4152 3019
Passcode: Manatee

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