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Project Name: Manatee Viewing & Rescue Center

Project Location: Apollo Beach, FL

Stable Ramp Ensures Safe Access at Manatee Viewing & Rescue Center

Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, Florida, delivers reliable electricity to the community, but many people may not know it also provides a refuge for manatees seeking a warm-water environment when Tampa Bay temperatures drop. Since the 1970s, these herbivorous marine mammals have found a comfortable home in the power station’s discharge canal when the bay’s temperature drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The discharge canal where the manatees congregate takes water from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4, then returns the clean, warm water to the Bay. The discharge canal is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals.

GEOTERRA® GTO Construction Mats Provide a Safe & Reliable Underwater Access Area

The staff at the Manatee Viewing Center, located at Big Bend Power Station, needed a safe and easy way to access and help sick, injured, or pregnant manatees. Tampa Bay Marine and local distributor R.H. Moore and Associates devised an access solution using the GEOTERRA® GTO Construction Mats.

The GEOTERRA GTO mats were placed over a Mirafi Filterweave 700 (FW700) woven geotextile, then secured with earth anchors and infilled with number 57 stone. The GEOTERRA mats provided an easy-to-use access ramp that is stable and strong enough to move manatees, personnel, and equipment in and out of the water.

The GEOTERRA mats are safe and easy to install without the use of heavy equipment, making them the perfect solution for this unique marine environment. The GEOTERRA GTO’s bolt connection system makes it the fastest mat to install, locking together in any configuration to meet any site’s requirements.

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