RIVIERA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As seasonal temperatures drop and boat speed zone markers start to populate waterways in Palm Beach County, locals know that manatee migrations have begun. Manatee Lagoon - An FPL Eco-Discovery Center ™ wants visitors to know that the facility will showcase a slew of new features just in time for manatee season, Nov. 15 through March 31.
Tens of thousands of two-legged visitors and hundreds of whiskered-and-flippered patrons have frequented the facility since its grand opening in February 2016. Since that time, Manatee Lagoon's educational programming and outreach has earned it a conservation certification from the prestigious Wildlife Habitat Council for its awareness and community engagement efforts. The conservation certification recognizes meaningful wildlife habitat management and conservation programs. It helps companies demonstrate a long-term commitment to managing quality habitat for wildlife, conservation education and community outreach activities. "Manatee Lagoon provides learning opportunities for visitors and residents alike to better understand and protect manatees and the ecosystems they inhabit," said Pamela Rauch, vice president, external affairs and economic development for Florida Power & Light Company. "We at FPL have an important role to play in educating audiences about how our power plants benefit this endangered animal and Florida's constantly evolving ecological landscape." One example of commendable conservation engagement was this year's first-ever Manatee Lagoon underwater clean-up of the Lake Worth Lagoon with Sea 2 Shore Alliance. Manatee Lagoon's certified divers completed a clean sweep of parts of the neighboring Lake Worth estuary, removing boating debris, garbage, fishing line and other refuse that could potentially harm manatees or other marine life. Wildlife officials encourage those who enjoy our waterways to watch out for manatees swimming in Florida's rivers, bays or coastal waters. For those who keep their eyes on the waterways this time of year to check out manatees, many have grown used to Manatee Lagoon's manatee cam. The manatee cam will be back in action on Nov. 15 trained on the outflow area of FPL's Riviera Beach Next Generation Energy Center adjacent to Manatee Lagoon. The cam is a great way to check out manatee activity as manatees tend to frequent the warm water in the outflow area to help them survive winter's cold. New this year, returning guests will now have options to snack from a seasonal menu in the facility's café. Adults and children alike can explore the wonders of the neighboring Lake Worth Lagoon ecosystem and nearby reefs by examining a fish tank that replicates the brackish environment of the Lagoon as well as nearby marine offshore coral reef systems.