“Lettuce” Help Feed the Manatees

“Lettuce” Help Feed the Manatees

You can now drink Manatee Coffee and feed manatees with your purchase!

Throughout November, 10% of all proceeds ordered from our website will be donated to help the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service safely feed manatees in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Together with our new nonprofit partner, the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, our partnership will aid in the supplemental, non-habit-forming feeding of manatees with romaine lettuce this winter to help reduce manatee mortality.

In 2021, FWC recorded 1,101 manatee deaths, many due to starvation in the lagoon. In the last ten years, nutrient runoff and pollution have created toxic algal blooms that have decimated 46,000 acres of seagrass. Now all that remains are food deserts for an animal that typically consumes almost 10% of its body weight daily. To learn more about the Manatee Unusual Mortality Event, visit MyFWC.com/Manatee.

In response, the Foundation funds small-scale feeding trials and large-scale replanting efforts. “Habitat loss is the main threat to most of our state’s plants and animals,” said Foundation President and CEO Andrew Walker. “We are delighted that Manatee Coffee is committed to helping us fund our feeding and restoration efforts in the Indian River Lagoon, making an immediate impact and creating long-term solutions.”

“We are excited to support the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida with these actionable solutions to help starving manatees,” said Nick Thompson, VP of Sales & Marketing at Manatee Coffee. “This partnership is a perfect opportunity to spread awareness about these issues and provide the public a tangible way to save manatees.”

“Eelgrasses are the lungs of the lagoon,” says Foundation board chair Carlos Alfonso. “Two-and-a-half acres of eelgrass can support as many as 100,000 fish and 100 million invertebrates and provide manatees with a crucial food source.” With this in mind, the Foundation is replanting seagrass at 11 sites in the lagoon with promising water quality. In one area of the Loxahatchee River, 60,000 eelgrass plants were transplanted this spring. They continue to be protected with fencing, so they will rapidly expand to become an important food source for manatees.

This project is part of a broad effort to restore thousands of acres of eelgrass lost in recent years to harmful algal blooms. The thick algal mats, fed by excess nutrients flowing into the lagoon, cut off sunlight to the seagrass, ending photosynthesis. The nutrients come from septic systems, lawn fertilizer runoff, and other sources within the lagoon’s watershed.

“Manatee conservation has always been and remains a priority for our agency, and we are grateful for the funds received from the legislature, the foundation, and others who have contributed to this conservation effort,” said FWC executive director Eric Sutton. “Thanks to these collaborative efforts, we are hopeful we can help improve conditions in the Indian River Lagoon so manatees, fish, and other wildlife can thrive.”

If you are interested in supporting the supplemental feeding trial or funding habitat restoration in the Indian River Lagoon, donate to their Marine Mammal Fund or purchase coffee from Manatee Coffee during the month of November.

Manatee Coffee and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida would like to remind concerned residents not to feed manatees—it’s illegal—and can result in life-threatening behaviors in manatees.

About Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization that supports the efforts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Operating as a statewide community foundation for conservation, the Foundation has raised and donated more than $60 million to conserve nature and our outdoor heritage. For more information, visit wildlifeflorida.org.

Media Contact: mashton@wildlifeflorida.org


About Manatee Coffee

Manatee Coffee is the original “Coffee with a Cause” because your purchase helps to support manatees and their habitats. We love these “gentle giants,” and we work with trusted preservation partners to help sustain their environment for future generations. We take pride in sourcing, blending, and roasting the finest coffees to create our signature smooth. But we also believe in giving back to nonprofits that have impacted the preservation of manatees. For more information, visit manateecoffee.com.

Media Contact: info@manateecoffee.com