One of the more amusing offshoots of the Canaveral Rail Extension debates springs from the misconception that manatees are somehow invasive to the State of Florida.
Some in social media have been using this as an excuse to justify the construction of the Canaveral Rail. Somehow they make an argument that, since manatees are "invasive" they are "destroying the river" and "eating aquatic plants by ripping them out at the roots so they don't grow back", they don't deserve protection.
It's the kind of assertion that is so preposterously absurd that it could be attributed to our current Governor; completely tone deaf to the environment of Florida and its ensuing natural wonders with no concept whatsoever about our natural treasures or conservation of our dwindling natural resources..
This is simply not true. Manatees are NOT an invasive species. Contrary to what you might Google on the Interwebs, manatees were not imported by Henry Flagler to supplement his crews' diets; yes, they ate them. But manatees were already here and were a natural food source for pioneers in the Sunshine State.
Those found in the Sunshine State are one of two sub-species of the endangered West Indian manatee. The Florida manatee is a significant part of Florida's cultural and biological heritage, and have been protected by the State of Florida since 1893.
The biggest threats to their existence are habitat degradation from construction and development, water quality and humans in boats.
You'll find an interesting post on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website explaining where the confusion stems from.