MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reopened the Moore Haven Lock to navigation after completing installation of the Manatee Protection System (MPS) July 14.
“Installation of the Manatee Protection System was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, allowing us to reopen the lock on Okeechobee Waterway to navigation,” said Al Bruns, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District.
Work was initially scheduled to begin May 14, but was postponed twice after taking into consideration the concerns expressed by local business owners, recreational boaters and residents about the lock being closed during the height of boating season and the resulting economic impacts. The work, which began June 11, was scheduled to take approximately eight weeks to finish, was completed in approximately five weeks.
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.