Suitable habitat for the manatee must provide 4 basic elements:

Manatees can eat up to 10% of their body weight of vegetation daily. With that in mind, manatees must have a suitable habitat with an abundance of aquatic plants to sustain all the manatees in the area.

Manatee intake water occurs while eating aquatic plants as well as drinking. Manatees will travel considerable distances for fresh water.

Manatees require space to move about. Being migratory, the space required by manatees is influenced by seasonal change. Travel corridors, or passageways (rivers, waterways, etc.) are necessary for the manatee to move back and forth between summer and winter habitats.

Manatees must have a safe, protected area - away from harassment, boat traffic, strong current, etc.