"We'll always have tourism, we'll always have manatees. "
The decision earlier this month to retire a nuclear plant near this small Florida city - potentially costing hundreds of jobs and lost revenue - has residents banking on the lure of the endangered manatee.
"We'll always have tourism, we'll always have manatees. That's a huge draw," said Michele Bunts, manager of Cracker's Bar, Grill & Tiki, as employees wiped down tables in preparation for the lunch crowd on the deck overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Kings Bay, the headwaters of Crystal River.
As the nation's only place where people can legally swim with manatees, Crystal River draws tourists from around the world for a chance to snorkel with the sea cows, which can be 10 feet long and weigh between 800 and 1,200 lbs. Tourists also enjoy the chance to spot the creatures from a boat or land.
Read more at Reuters.