February 24, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission to study ways in which Florida manatee populations can be best protected from cold stress. Many Florida manatees rely heavily on the outfalls of warm water from power plants for warm water refuges in the winter, but many of these plants are reaching the end of their useful life. The Marine Mammal Commission is looking at alternative means of protecting the state’s manatee population from cold stress during the winter months. FSEC has been contracted to conduct detailed hourly simulations and analysis of heat- loss mechanisms in hypothetical warm water refuges located in the northern, central and southern regions of the Florida manatee’s current range. The strategy being investigated is the creation of semi-enclosed refuges that would provide access to manatees but limit heat losses in winter. Strategies for providing warm water to these refuges include the use of solar systems and part of FSEC’s job will be to determine the engineering requirements and most cost-effective technologies to meet these goals.