By Associated Press - Saturday, September 13, 2014

St. Petersburg, Fla (AP) - Environmentalists say the federal government’s fast-track permitting process for Florida waterfront access, means the already endangered manatee could be increasingly at risk.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Florida office singled out the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday for not keeping track of how new watercraft permits for thousands of boat docks, piers and boat ramps are affecting the water mammals. The group has previously sued the federal government over endangered species but declined to say whether it would do so this time.

Boats killed a record 97 manatees in Florida in 2009. That number declined to 73 last year. Federal officials have long promised to come up with a better management plan to monitor the impact of the growing number of docks.

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