Business Owners Object To Closure During Tourist Season
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The US Army Corps of Engineers has postponed the closure date of the Moore Haven Lock after taking into consideration additional concerns expressed by local business owners.
The lock will now be closed effective June 11 to install the Manatee Protection System (MPS) on the gates that allows safe passage by manatees. The adjustment comes after local business owners expressed additional concerns about the lock being closed during the height of boating season on the Okeechobee Waterway and the resulting economic impacts. The work on the lock is expected to continue for approximately eight weeks.
"Finding the optimal time to close down the lock requires a balancing act between risks and impacts," said Jacksonville District Commander Col. Alfred Pantano Jr. "While there is no way to find a time that will be preferred by all, we do believe that we have found the time that will allow the lock to remain open during boating season, while also allowing work to be completed prior to the height of hurricane season."
Installation of the MPS is part of the Manatee Pass Gates project. The primary goal of the project is to safeguard Florida’s endangered manatees at water control structures and navigation locks by modifying these structures with a 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.
Above-ground fixtures have already been installed at Moore Haven Lock. The remaining work includes dewatering the lock, installing the M PS to the lock gates, testing the system, and re-watering the lock.