Brendan Rivers

Reporter

Reporter Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates six radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.

Originally from Clifton Park, New York, Brendan moved to Florida in high school. He has a bachelor's degree in music from New College of Florida and an associate's degree in music production and technology from Daytona State College.

Brendan originally planned to pursue a career as a composer, arranger, music producer and recording engineer, but an internship at WGCU, the NPR and PBS member station in Fort Myers, convinced him he belongs in broadcasting and public media.

Brendan is the lead reporter for ADAPT, WJCT’s digital magazine exploring how Northeast Florida is adapting to sea level rise and other effects of climate change. He also hosts the ADAPT podcast.

Brendan's bylines include NPR, InsideClimate News, Living On Earth, The Florida Times-Union, and Folio Weekly. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a former fellow with InsideClimate News and Climate Matters in the Newsroom.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Glenn Landers from the USACE speaking to members of Jacksonville's Special Committee on Resiliency.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s new Special Committee on Resiliency held its first meeting on Monday and several committee members openly supported the idea of appointing a chief resilience officer.

In 2019, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis appointed the state’s first-ever chief resilience officer. In the midst of her initial meetings with local officials, Julia Nesheiwat shares the lessons she brings to the position from her time in the military and academia — and the time she created a federal bureau from the ground up. Technology, collaboration and cutting back on fossil fuel emissions should all be part of Florida’s strategy to adapt to climate change, she says.

Northeast Florida Regional Council Resiliency Coordinator Sean Lahav is just 24, but he’s already coordinating resilience efforts across all of Florida’s First Coast. His job includes getting “movers and shakers” from the private sector to think about incorporating sea level rise into their plans.

LEED certification, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created to encourage builders to be more sustainable. But last year, the entire city of Atlantic Beach undertook the process. City Manager Shane Corbin says the data gathering it required has given planners a roadmap for improving everything from energy efficiency to the amount of waste residents generate.

Trees do all sorts of amazing things —  trap and store carbon, protect us from floods, absorb pollutants and increase property values. Jacksonville’s Urban Forestry Manager Richard Leon looks at them as critical urban infrastructure and plans to plant as many as possible in the nation’s biggest city.

Scientists say the most important thing individuals can do to help fight climate change is to talk about it. But 64% of Americans say they rarely or never do. Lauren Watkins is trying to fix that. She teaches people how to have productive, non-polarizing conversations about environmental issues. She opens up her toolkit for us  — and opens up about the communication challenges in her own family.

Before we can talk about what to do about climate change, we have to understand what it is. Luckily, University of North Florida biology Professor Adam Rosenblatt has experience explaining the basics to his classes. He breaks down the science and then talks about his advocacy efforts on the local, state and national level.

ADAPT Trailer

Jan 21, 2020

Last year was the hottest-ever on record in Jacksonville—where some areas of town are still recovering from the last major hurricane.

And with seas projected to rise more than 6 feet by the end of the century, builders continue to put homes and businesses along the waterfront.

So who are the people in Northeast Florida working to protect us and help us adapt to sea-level rise and other effects of climate change?

We’ll meet them in the upcoming ADAPT podcast, hosted by Brendan Rivers.

JESSICA PALOMBO / WJCT NEWS

If you were out for a walk and thought it felt hotter than normal for the beginning of January  — you’re right. The National Weather Service said Jacksonville tied a record high for January of 85 degrees on Friday.

Michael Dunn in court.
News4Jax

A man convicted in the high-profile shooting death of a teen in a Jacksonville convenience-store parking lot in 2012 is appealing to the Florida Supreme Court. 

Hurricane Irma storm surge flooding San Marco homes.
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that more than $44 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding has been awarded to 11 communities that were impacted by Hurricane Irma, including Jacksonville.

Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson has announced the formation of a committee that will look to make the city more resilient to flooding, sea level rise, and severe weather.

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Hector Cortes, from Puerto Rico, prepares heaving lines on Aug. 29, 2019, at Naval Station Mayport in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard / U.S. Navy

Jacksonville’s Naval Station Mayport is among the many military bases that will have to deal with significantly hotter days, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Mayport has historically seen eight days a year with heat index values over 100 degrees. By 2050, that number is projected to jump to 74 days.

An artist's rendering of the new FIS headquarters on Riverside Avenue.
via the Jacksonville Daily Record

Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. is building a new headquarters in Jacksonville, which is expected to bring 500 new jobs to the area over the next decade, and the company’s CEO wants to make it the greenest building in Florida.

Flooding on Ken Knight Drive during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Cherisse Lamb

A group of scientists and academics from local universities and colleges have signed onto a letter asking Mayor Lenny Curry and the City Council to develop a plan for reducing fossil fuel emissions in Jacksonville and to start preparing the city for the impacts of climate change.

Tidal flooding in downtown St. Augustine on Granada St. near Flagler College.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

St. Augustine homeowners and other property owners in the city may qualify for 25% cheaper flood insurance premiums.

Florida National Guard soldiers going door to door in the Jacksonville area around Ortega Island following Hurricane Irma, Sept. 11, 2017.
The National Guard / Flickr.com

An official from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection told a state House subcommittee Wednesday that Florida is working to develop a statewide strategy to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

A man biking on the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop trail.
St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance's Facebook Page

St. Johns County is hosting a public workshop Thursday on what’s called the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop, a 260-mile multi-use trail in the works.

traffic light
oatsy40 / Wikimedia Commons

Following the recommendations from a five-year study, Clay County is getting ready to make some improvements to CR 220 in Fleming Island.

Homes being raised on Avenida Menendez in St. Augustine.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

The American Flood Coalition is hosting its first Florida Mayors Summit in Washington, D.C., Monday and Tuesday, where 19 current mayors, representing more than 2.6 million Floridians, will hear from experts and talk to members of Congress about flooding and sea level rise.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing new environmental proposals Wednesday in Jupiter.
Gov. Ron DeSantis' Twitter page

Gov. Ron DeSantis this week announced environmental proposals for the 2020 legislative session, based on recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, that are designed to expedite water quality improvements throughout Florida.

Councilman Al Ferraro (at the head of the table), joined by several fellow councilmembers, leads a public meeting Friday discussing NEFRC funding.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Councilman Al Ferraro has asked the Northeast Florida Regional Council to illustrate what it does for Jacksonville ahead of committee hearings where elected officials will consider whether the city should continue funding the organization.

Northeast Florida Regional Council CEO Beth Payne speaking to the board of directors Thursday.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

During Thursday’s meeting, Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) CEO Beth Payne told her board of directors she thinks the Jacksonville City Council will vote to continue funding the organization.

Councilman Ron Salem speaking to firefighters and JSO officers ahead of his election.
Ron Salem's City Council Facebook page

Jacksonville At-Large Group 2 City Councilman Ron Salem says legislation restoring funding to the Northeast Florida Regional Council he plans to file this week would give the organization a chance to make its case and force councilmembers to debate the pros and cons of membership.

man on stretcher
Northeast Florida Regional Council

This week, the Jacksonville City Council passed a last-minute budget amendment to end the city’s annual financial contribution to be part of the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

Andrea Dutton
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

A professor who studies sea levels and global temperatures of the past has been named a 2019 MacArthur fellow.

JEA headquarters exterior
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Jacksonville residents will soon learn how many offers have been submitted to buy the city-owned utility JEA.

Wetland Preserve
North Florida Land Trust

The Florida Cabinet voted Tuesday to approve a $2.8 million conservation easement on Wetland Preserve in Putnam County.

Climate strikers in front of Jacksonville's City Hall.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

About 100 people gathered at Hemming Park in Downtown Jacksonville Friday to participate in a youth-led climate strike.

The Main Street Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville
Blake Allen

When it comes to clean energy policies, Jacksonville is one of the worst cities in the nation, according to a new report.

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