Rodman Dam

Sandra Friend / US Department of Agriculture - Forest Service

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is pulling its support for a an environmental offset sought by the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

The agreement included plans to breach the Rodman Dam in Putnam County in exchange for deepening the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

 

Last week, the Riverkeeper announced plans to sue over the proposed St. Johns River dredging. Almost immediately, the JAX Chamber told the Florida Times-Union it no longer supports a compromise reached with the Riverkeeper eight months ago. St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman says the news came as a shock.

Sandra Friend / US Department of Agriculture - Forest Service

Mayor Alvin Brown’s Port Task Force has voted in support of breaching a Putnam County dam as an offset for proposed deepening of the Jacksonville Harbor.

A coalition of Jacksonville business and environmental advocates say removing the dam will flush millions of gallons of fresh water into the St. Johns River each day. They say that would offset environmental damage caused by the proposed dredging of Jacksonville’s port.

Meanwhile, advocates for keeping the dam, and the man-made lake behind it, say it acts as a water filter keeping pollution from flowing downstream.

ship at JAXPORT
JAXPORT

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s port task force voted this week in support of deepening the Jacksonville Harbor and increasing offsets for environmental harm that may result. What they did not decide was how to pay for the projects.

The task force voted seven-to-one that dredging the port — from 40 feet to 47 feet to accommodate Asian “megaships” — makes good sense for the city.

They estimate $380 million must come from state and local governments but stopped short of outlining a funding plan.

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.