Development Of A Conceptual Design For A Non-Industry Dependent Warm-Water Refuge For Florida Manatees In Brevard County, Florida

Secondary Author(s)

Barkaszi, Stephen

Report Number



Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) have been listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since March, 1967. Most Florida manatees depend largely on thermal outfalls from power plants built before the 1970s and to be retired soon. Non-industrial warm-water refuges are needed to replace retired power plant outfalls on an interim (perhaps 20-30 years) to prevent an increase in cold-related deaths in manatee subpopulations dependent on power plant outfalls. One possible approach under consideration by the Warm Water Task Force within the Florida Manatee Recovery Team is the development of solar heated refuges that could temporarily support manatees if and when power plant outfalls are shut down. To help assess the possibility of developing temporary replacements for power plant discharges, Goswami and Kearny (2002) and Gu (2005) examined the technical feasibility of heating water in enclosed areas with openings large enough to permit manatee access using solar panels and a closed loop heat exchanger. Their analyses suggest that available solar water-heating technology is adequate to heat water in enclosed areas to temperatures that could support manatees even during the coldest winter days. Based on those results, the Warm Water Task Force, in cooperation with Reliant Energy, owner of a power plant used by manatees in Brevard County, proposed that a project be undertake to develop a conceptual design for constructing a test solar heated warm-water refuge that could support manatees. The purpose this study is to develop a detailed conceptual design and associated cost estimates that could be used to proceed with planning for the construction of a temporary solar heated warm-water refuge near the outfall of the Reliant Energy power plant in Brevard County, Florida. The purpose of the refuge would be to test whether such a structure would be used by manatees and whether it could support animals currently using the power plant outfall during winter periods when the plant was not operating. Project developed as a cooperative effort supported by Marine Mammal Commission (MMC) and Reliant Energy under auspices of Warm-Water Task Force. Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) provided calculations of heating requirements and simple cost estimation, and responsible for assembling final project report; Washington Group International (WGI) contracted to provide conceptual drawings and detailed cost estimates for construction.

Date Published



FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection

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