Environment

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Editor's note: This article has been modified to clarify the parties involved in the lawsuit.

On the final leg of a conservation-awareness tour, the St. Johns Riverkeeper announced Friday it’s suing to halt plans to deepen the river.

The lawsuit is challenging state environmental regulators' approval of a Jacksonville plan to accommodate larger ships at JAXPORT.


The city of Jacksonville is no longer participating in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The program, which awards cities around the world $1 million in cash and services to address extreme weather, crime and sea level rise, was applied for by former Mayor Alvin Brown.

water flowing  out of tap
next. via flickr

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a water policy bill Thursday despite calls from environmentalists to veto the measure.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper was part of a statewide coalition calling for the veto.


Chuck Coker / Flickr Creative Commons

Jacksonville is one of the least energy-efficient major cities in the country. That’s according to a scorecard by a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit.

Still, the city scored higher than it did two years ago.


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.


TedX Jacksonville via Flickr

A law firm in downtown Jacksonville is taking it upon itself to bring recycling to Hemming Park.

Attorneys at Johnson and Lufrano hope to inspire other local businesses to expand recycling throughout downtown.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

 

A mid-December day in Florida means perfect weather for a hike through the University of North Florida’s 382-acre nature preserve surrounding the college campus.

On Thursday, kids from Bayview Elementary visited the Sawmill Slough Preserve to learn about the animals and habitats that make the trails their home.

 


National Park Service

Jacksonville conservationists are urging Duval County lawmakers to use more Amendment 1 money to buy conservation land around the First Coast.

The pleas at Monday’s Duval Delegation meeting came amidst an ongoing court battle pitting environmentalists against state officials who say the money was spent correctly.

One environmental preservation group says it’s losing projects as a direct result of what it calls a misappropriation of state funds.  


Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Tuesday, St. Johns River water managers nearly unanimously approved a controversial plan to handle Central Florida’s looming water shortage.

For years, a consortium of water planners took input from agricultural, residential and conservationist stakeholders to craft what they call a balanced plan.

Northeast Florida river advocates are complaining their data is wrong.


JEA

Officials at a Mandarin wastewater facility are looking for the source of a huge increase in fats, oils and grease coming into the plant.

As the Mandarin Newsline first reported, the amount of grease in the water has more than quadrupled since June.

Officials at the facility believe something illegal is causing the influx.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Natural gas took center stage at the Florida Energy Summit in Jacksonville Thursday, sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and hosted by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. 

Energy company execs and government officials called the fuel source integral to the state’s energy independence.

But a recent study says Florida and the rest of the country are too reliant on the fuel.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Central and North Florida springs are getting an extra $4 million to help supplement ongoing water conservation efforts.

The St. Johns River Water Management District board voted Tuesday to allow the district’s executive director to use the funds the Florida Legislature allocated.

Some environmentalists worry the board signed away its authority to choose which projects get the funds, which could hinder transparency.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

St. Johns River advocates and museum goers attended a first-of-its-kind symposium Saturday at Jacksonville's Museum of Science and History.

The event was focused on shaping the next generation of river enthusiasts.

Author and self-described springs advocate Rick Kilby took the older crowd back to a simpler time, when Kilby said the springs surrounding the St. Johns River were as clear as the memories he has of summer swimming trips. Since then, he said Florida has been too successful at attracting new residents.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Environmental groups in Northeast Florida are criticizing state legislators on how they are shifting funds for an amendment passed last November.

The groups say Amendment 1’s original purpose was to fund the Land Acquisition Trust Fund which would then acquire, restore and manage conservation lands.

But now representatives from groups like the North Florida Land Trust are concerned legislators are using funds from Amendment for things other than land purchases.

The North Florida Land Trust purchases land for conservation and preservation.

Duval County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti joins us to discuss his agenda for education on the First Coast. Major changes such as new magnet schools, single gender education, trade schools and more are being considered to improve student achievement. Vitti says he is trying to create more quality educational choices to lure parents and students back from charter and private schools while also saving some under-enrolled, under-performing schools from closing their doors.

US Environmental Protection Agency

The House on Monday approved a measure that would require oil and gas companies to inform the state of chemicals being injected into the ground as part of a controversial drilling process known as "fracking."

The bill (HB 1205) also would prohibit permits from being issued until a study is completed on the potential impacts of fracking.

On the March 2015 edition of WJCT's Policy Matters, host Rick Mullaney speaks with nationally renowned water resource and marine life experts James G. Workman, writer and Deputy Director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design, and Dr. Quint White, Director of Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute.

You can subscribe to the Policy Matters podcast in iTunes.

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

New legislation currently before Congress that would set regulations on an array of environmental hazards is being closely watched here in Jacksonville, a city consistently rated poor in air quality. The upcoming annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit will discuss how these environmental hazards impact our community, children, and food production. We speak with Eric Hull, summit chairperson and professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, Patricia Pappan, president of the Environmental Law Society, and Dr. Quint White, marine biologist at Jacksonville University.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Whales are on their way to Northeast Florida.

Keith Ramos / Flickr

Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are encouraging people to be especially mindful of manatees this month.

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.

Florida will now dedicate a third of its revenues from real estate transaction fees for water and land conservation after voters approved Amendment One Tuesday.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Catherine Dillingham's septic tank is pooped out.

"It's old... I just had [it] pumped about two months ago. It was full."

But a full septic tank is not what qualified Dillingham’s home for a new sewer hookup - courtesy of the City of Jacksonville and JEA. It was a more natural and free-flowing feature.

Sunshine Economy: Amendment 1 - Paying to Protect Florida By the Acre and the Gallon

Almost three and a half million acres of Florida are under the state's care. The federal government is responsible for another three million acres. County and local governments plus special districts such as water conservation and management areas have 3.4 million acres under their control.

More than 92,000 petitions arrived at Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office today urging the governor to announce his plan for fighting climate change. The petitions also call for Scott to cut carbon emissions and invest in solar power, actions that would help the state comply with the federal government's proposed Clean Power Plan

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 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.

"Identifying the deepening as a necessity to grow the port happened several years ago," said Nancy Rubin, Director of Communications for the Jacksonville Port Authority. JAXPORT wants to deepen 13 miles of the St. Johns at the mouth of the river from 40 feet to 47 feet.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its latest citrus projections for the season, with orange production up for the first time in the past three years. The state will produce an estimated 108 million boxes of oranges, which is a three percent increase from last year’s 104.6 million boxes.

Wikimedia Commons

The United States has added over two million housings units to the nation's coast in the last 20 years, and construction is not slowing down, according to a new report from Reuters.

Peter Haden

In the first of six stories on issues facing the St. Johns River, WJCT’s Peter Haden reports on the essentials of nutrients.

Warren Miller

Dave Kyler was trained as an engineer and urban planner. When he came to the Georgia coastal islands to work for a planning organization, he found a home that he's never left.

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