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Florida rule expands manatee protection

Manatees that travel the Intracoastal and other waterways in Broward County, Fla., will receive additional protection under an updated rule passed Wednesday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Under the new rule, boaters in Broward County will have to slow down for manatees throughout the week, not just on weekends, from Nov. 15 through March 31, on portions of the Intracoastal in the northern part of the county.

The time it takes a boater to travel through the county in the Intracoastal on weekdays during the winter will increase by about 18 minutes, but it will remain essentially unchanged during other times of the year, according to the FWC.

There also will be additional slow zones in a few other small areas and an expansion of the no-entry zone at the Port Everglades Power Plant discharge canal.

In many areas, the manatee rule changes will not affect boaters because there are existing year-round boating safety zones that are more restrictive, according to the commission.

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