Both subspecies of the West Indian manatee - the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) - will retain federal protections, as will the animals' vulnerable Florida habitats, according to the FWS ruling.
But some things are still good, and one of them is the fact that manatees have officially been downgraded from an "endangered" species to the "threatened" list only.
But government agents say that the status change was mostly symbolic, and the protective policies on the water mammals will still be in place.
Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that despite the positive trends, natural habitat is still being developed and boats remains a primary threat.
Save the Manatee Club believes the FWS decision failed to adequately consider data from 2010 to 2016, during which time manatees suffered from unprecedented mortality events linked to habitat pollution, dependence on artificial warm water sources, and record deaths from watercraft strikes. Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates the number of manatees under its jurisdiction has grown to 6,620 - an apparent victory for wildlife managers.
Buchanan stands so staunchly opposed to the decision, he intends to challenge the reclassification with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
The change in manatee status caused controversy.
Diverse conversation efforts and collaborations by Florida and other manatee states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Caribbean nations, public and private organizations and citizens, are credited with the population growth. "It needs to be reversed".
However the manatee has now been reclassified as "threatened".
But the manatee's considerable improvement alone would not have been enough to get the federal government to reclassify the manatee. Of 520 deaths past year, 104 were attributed to boats.
The reclassification follows years of lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Pacific Legal Foundation.