Starving manatees will face another rough winter next season

But when manatees concentrate in such numbers, they quickly strip the surrounding area of food, a problem worsened by the loss of vast fields of seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon, a 156-mile-long body of water enclosed by barrier islands that runs from northern Palm Beach County to Volusia County. When fertilizer chemicals such as nitrogen or phosphorus reach the lagoon, they stimulate the growth of algae that blocks sunlight, killing seagrass.