The St. Johns River
The University of North Florida

The 2020 State of the River Report points to some positive developments in the health of the St. Johns River, but also highlights several concerning trends.

Aerial shot of cargo ship approaching JAXPORT

The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved $75 million in funding for the ongoing St. Johns River dredging project.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporters Nate Monroe and Christopher Hong on their investigative series regarding how dredging affects the flow of the St. Johns River (01:06).


Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is optimistic a St. Johns River dredging project will bring big business into JAXPORT. The Florida Democrat’s support for the deepening goes against the concerns of local environmentalists, as the St. Johns Riverkeeper is suing over potential environmental impacts.     

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On this episode of Redux, we’re going to revisit a continuing conversation in Jacksonville: to dredge or not. The debate over deepening the St. Johns River continues.

Then, what do Montreal and Jacksonville have in common? Well, they are both port cities and if this whole shipping thing doesn’t work out, maybe we can learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the north.

Also on this episode, now that Florida has legalized some forms of medical marijuana, its list of potential uses might begin to grow. And finally, looking for things to do on the First Coast? We've got you covered with the new app from Visit Jacksonville, intoGo.

Contributed Photo

As the debate continues over whether to spend close to $700 million to deepen the St. Johns River, one former transportation executive says proceeding with the project is anything but a sure thing in helping the area increase its market share in container shipping.

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The future of Duval County is our focus.

Coming up, reading test scores for our area’s third-graders are in, and the results are — well, mixed.

While schools in more affluent neighborhoods posted reading scores above grade level, schools in low-income areas continue to struggle. Now one group is trying to change all that.

Then, the opioid crisis is now affecting every corner of every hospital in this country. Find out what one state politician is trying to do ensure funds are available to treat our youngest victims.

Also, plans to deepen a portion of the St. John’s River have been approved, but critics contend: Will it be enough? We’ll bring you both sides of the debate. Then, Jacksonville is a big city, but a recent study shows it’s also not a very developed city. And finally, we have dinosaurs and more on this episode of Redux.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Officials from JaxPort and the city met Wednesday to talk about possible local funding to deepen the port for larger ships.

Councilman Bill Gulliford met with Council President Lori Boyer and JaxPort’s interim CEO Eric Green to discuss dredging 13 miles of the St. Johns River, but Gulliford said there’s no definite federal or state funding source.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

The first large freighter to pass through the new, larger Panama Canal arrived at JAXPORT Tuesday.

The landing punctuates an ongoing controversy over intentions to deepen Jacksonville’s channel to accommodate modern mega ships.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commons

Florida is expected, before the end of January, to approve a permit to deepen the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper says it will challenge the permit because the dredging plan doesn't do enough to offset negative environmental effects.

ship at JAXPORT

JAXPORT could be getting an infusion of cash to cover a proposed deepening project if a Jacksonville state representative has his way.

Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) has filed a bill that would steer more than $100 million into a fund dedicated for port improvements. But Jacksonville would have to compete with other major port cities for the money.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Northeast Florida lawmakers are opposing a plan for Central Florida to withdraw more than 150 million gallons of water from the St. Johns River every day.

The Duval County Legislative Delegation passed their mostly symbolic resolution Thursday.

Conservationists are applauding the delegation’s move.

Peter Haden / WJCT

The St. Johns Riverkeeper announced Tuesday it plans to sue the Army Corps of Engineers over its proposal to deepen the St. Johns River.

The Army Corps of Engineers says dredging the St. Johns River is a positive economic move for Jacksonville, but St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman says its plan ignores the project’s deep environmental impact.

We discuss the week's news with our roundtable of local journalists: Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

Topics include Mayor Lenny Curry's transition committees presenting their recommendations for the administration, the first Republican presidential debate, and more.

St. Johns River Dredging Forum Stirs Up Old Arguments

Jul 22, 2015
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

St. Johns River deepening was the topic of a public forum Tuesday night in Neptune Beach.  

The Beaches Democratic Club invited a panel of experts to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of dredging near JAXPORT.  

Jacksonville has long debated whether a portion of the St. Johns River should be deepened from 40 feet to 47 feet.

Maersk Line / JAXPORT

  The plans to deepen as much as 13 miles of the St. Johns River from 40 to 47 feet are the subject of a public forum Tuesday night.

The Jacksonville Port Authority says the extra depth is needed for JAXPORT to compete for the much larger cargo ships that will soon be coming through the Panama Canal.

Environmentalists, however, say the project could compromise water quality and destroy many of the river’s ecosystems.

Billee Bussard is with the Beaches Democratic Club which is sponsoring the forum.

Peter Haden / WJCT

A town hall meeting on the UNF campus next week with discuss the pros and cons of deepening the St. Johns River. Dredging the channel down to a depth of 47 feet is a major priority for JAXPORT and this area’s business and civic leadership so that the port can attract bigger cargo ships and theoretically create more jobs. But opponents cite issues like environmental concerns and the potential cost of the dredging project, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. We speak with Dr. David Jaffee of UNF's Ports Project, and Dr.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Jeff Billman, Folio Weekly editor; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include national coverage of the decision by Northeast Florida clerks of court to end courthouse weddings following the legalization of same-sex marriage, the sentencing of a local man for conspiring with terrorists, how Jacksonville's pensions problems is playing a role in the mayoral election, and more.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman joins us to discuss the unlikely partnership between environmentalists, the City of Jacksonville, Jax Chamber and JaxPort to remove the Rodman Dam in Putnam County. This controversial agreement would involve moving ahead with the planned dredging of the St. Johns River while allowing more fresh water into the system by restoring the Ocklawaha River.

Peter Haden / WJCT

At 310 miles long, the St. Johns is the longest river in Florida. It’s flat and slow - flowing at less than half-a-mile per hour - but not lazy. The St. Johns is the state’s most important river for commerce and recreation. Its significance runs deep, but for some, a stretch of the river needs to run deeper.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The funding for two projects designed to improve operations at JAXPORT, including dredging the St. Johns River's shipping channel to accommodate larger ships, will likely be approved by Congress.

Student achievement, Marissa Alexander, and Cuba are in the headlines today.

Violence on the Northside, internet cafes reconsidered by state lawmakers, and harsh criticism for Governor Scott by state Democrats are in the headlines today.

Jax port deepening fails House vote, Florida Blue cancels 300,000 policies, and a new mobile taxi service coming to Jacksonville are in the headlines today.

According to a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to be released on Friday, the deepening of Jacksonville's ship channel to 47 feet would cost $733 million. The Jacksonville Port Authority would have to cover half of those costs, while the federal government would cover the rest.

Contributed Photo

  Huge cargo ships stocked with items from overseas. Big business. Potential threats to the environment.  All are part of the mix as the JAXPORT board announces its desire to dredge the St. Johns River to 47 feet to accomodate what are known as Panamax-ready ships. These are the huge freighters that could be drawn to Jacksonville once the Panama Canal is widened in the next couple of years.