The purpose of this study was to assess the potential impacts of marine facility development on the manatee population of Brevard County, Florida between 1994 and 2003. Shape files for boating speed zones, manatee mortalities, boating facilities and other significant map layers from 1994 and 2003 were compared to measure changes over time. Additionally, due to the fact that speed zones established in 1994 were valid until1997, manatee mortality data were analyzed in timeframes (i.e. 1994- 1997 and 2003 to 2006). A shape file of the 1994 boating speed zones was created using ESRI’s ArcMap mapping program. Analysis focused primarily on changes in the number and dispersion of marine facilities, manatee watercraft-related mortalities and injuries within speed zones, and trends in watercraft-related mortalities at 4 distances (i.e. 0.5, 1, 2.5, and 5 miles) from marine facilities. The number of marinas and ramps increased between time periods, but the marine facilities identified in 2003 were not as dispersed throughout the county compared to those present in 1994. More watercraft-related manatee mortalities occurred between 2003 and 2006 than 1994 and 1997. There were also more watercraft-related mortalities within speed zones during 2003 than in 1994, although this may have reflected the comparatively larger area encompassed in the 2003 speed zones. The same was found when evaluating marine facilities both completely within and within 100 feet of the 1994 and 2003 speed zones. The data also indicated that Brevard County exhibited an increase in the number of watercraft-related mortalities over time, and an increase in the number of marine facilities from 0- 33 m of a speed zone, which created an county wide increase in access to the water. If the speed zones in Brevard County are altered in the future, spatial statistical analysis, including but not limited to Directional Distribution and Average Nearest Neighbor, and Cluster and Outlier Analysis and Hot Spot Analysis, should be applied to assess relevant changes.
Honaker, Allison R., "A GIS analysis of manatee habitat use relative to watercraft-related threats and boating facilities in Brevard County, Florida." (2013). Internship Reports (Restricted). 187.
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