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Disappearing seagrass hurting manatees in Florida

58% of seagrass in Indian River Lagoon gone since 2009
Manatees swim at Blue Springs State Park, Orange City, Florida
Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 11:20:00-05

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tens of thousands of acres of seagrass that is critical to the health of the Indian River Lagoon have disappeared, and it's affecting manatees.

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The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that since 2009, 58% of the seagrass in the lagoon system has disappeared, choked off from sunlight as a result of an over-saturation of nutrients in the water.

Seagrass is food for hundreds of thousands of animals, and home to even more.

The loss of seagrass has been especially hard on the manatees that graze on it.

An expert who has spent 40 years studying manatees in Central Florida said dead manatees are being found with nearly nothing in their stomachs.