Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Florida Manatees Protected With Hi-Tech Gates

System To Be Installed At Lock Entrances On Waterway

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to install a hi-tech manatee protection system at the Moore Haven Lock in Moore Haven, Florida.

Installation of the MPS is part of the Manatee Pass Gates project, with the primary goal of safeguarding Florida’s endangered manatees from serious injury or death at water control structures and navigation locks by modifying these structures with the MPS.

Using a set of acoustic transmitters and receivers, the MPS detects the West Indian Manatee and prevents the gates from closing and harming the protected animal. 

No boating traffic will be allowed to use the Moore Haven Lock during the installation process which consists of dewatering the lock, mounting the MPS to the lock gates, testing of the system and re-watering the lock. The Manatee Protection System has been manufactured and above-ground fixtures have been installed. Work is expected to take no more than two months to complete.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will host a public meeting Thursday, Feb. 16 to discuss the scheduled temporary closure of the Moore Haven Lock on the Okeechobee Waterway from April 2- May 25 during installation of the Manatee Protection System (MPS).

The meeting will be held in the South Florida Operations Office conference room, 525 Ridgelawn Rd., Clewiston, Fla. An open house will be held at 6:00 p.m., followed by a formal presentation at 6:30.

Technical experts will be available before and after the formal presentation to provide information and answer questions about the project.

“Work is tentatively scheduled to begin April 2 when water levels are lower and will take approximately two months to complete, prior to the start of hurricane season,” said Al Bruns, USACE project manager. “The purpose of this meeting is to provide information on the installation process and answer any questions or concerns.”

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