St. Johns River

St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth (center) and Jumbo Shrimp GM Howard Craw (right), holding up the design for the special Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp license plate. The baseball field in the background.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp hopes to offer fans a special team license plate if the team can get enough orders. 

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.

St. Johns And 2 Other North Florida Rivers Get Boost In Senate Bill

Feb 4, 2020
Pictured: The St. Johns River
LINDSEY KILBRIDE / WJCT NEWS

Some additional money would be shifted to help three North Florida rivers under a Senate proposal designed to carry out Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to spend $625 million annually on Everglades and other water projects over the next three years.

The St. Johns River.
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

A new report points to several worrying trends in the lower St. Johns River basin.

Palatka's South Historic District.
Peter Jensen / The South Historic District Neighborhood Association

The St. Johns River Water Management District is funding a $1.5 million project in Palatka to improve the quality of stormwater discharges to the St. Johns River.

Gov. DeSantis Puts Together Panel To Study Florida's Algae Woes

Jun 13, 2019
Sam Carr

Ahead of Florida’s summer growing months, scientists picked by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday weighed issues from septic tanks to farm production feeding the state’s nationally publicized algae troubles.

EDIE WIDDER / VIA ST. JOHNS RIVERKEEPER

If your Memorial Day plans include boating on the St. Johns River, the St. Johns Riverkeeper has a warning for you.

A basking Florida softshell turtle.
Bill White / NASA

The nonprofit Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida has announced they’re awarding a $30,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for freshwater turtle disease research to investigate a rash of mysterious deaths.

FWC Says Virus Might Be Killing Turtles In St. Johns Watershed

Mar 28, 2019
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission / Via Flickr

The mysterious die-off of freshwater turtles throughout the massive St. Johns River watershed continues despite an ongoing year-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its partners to determine the cause and prevent damage to the ecosystem with the loss of the species.

Boaters Concerned Water Bottles From Trailer Are Polluting St. Johns River

Jan 28, 2019
Via News4Jax

The trailer of a big rig that went over the edge of the Dames Point Bridge the Friday before Christmas remains in the water more than a month later, and now its load of water bottles is seeping into the river. 

Algal bloom in the Indian River Lagoon.
St. Johns River Water Management District

Over the past decade nearly 90,000 tons of sewage sludge have been trucked up from South Florida and dumped into the St. Johns River watershed and conservationists say it’s having a devastating effect.

Jborme / Wikimedia Commons

The tenth State of the River Report has been released, and the detailed analysis of the health and status of the Lower St. Johns River Basin and its tributaries shows mixed results.

Will Dickey / The Florida Times-Union

Our Florida Times-Union news partner reports that decades of deepening the river, combined with severe storms like Hurricane Irma, have brought the Atlantic Ocean right to the doorstep of downtown Jacksonville.

Downtown Jacksonville Riverfront Reconstruction Cost Rises By $1 Million

Apr 25, 2018
Bob Self / The Florida Times-Union

The long-awaited demolition of the parking deck behind the old county courthouse and the reconstruction of Coastline Drive and Liberty Street could cost $1 million more and take months longer to finish than originally anticipated.

Bill Bortzfield/WJCT News

Jacksonville city leaders are inching closer to a plan to revitalize the downtown Riverwalks after Hurricane Irma dealt them quite a blow last fall.


St. Johns River, Keystone Heights Lake Region Get Florida Senate Backing

Dec 7, 2017
Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Measures that would double Gov. Rick Scott's spending request for the Florida Forever conservation program and earmark money to improve the St. Johns River continued to move easily through the Senate on Thursday.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Update 1:08 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6: This story has been updated to include comment from JAXPORT.

An injunction filed Monday is seeking to stop the first phase of deepening the St. Johns River until further studies are conducted.

The Riverkeeper argues the project requires more analysis after Hurricane Irma.

The legal motion is in addition to an existing Riverkeeper lawsuit against the JAXPORT dredging project already making its way through the courts.


Bill Bortzfield / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Ramon Day and Dr. Shyam Payani with Floridians Advocating for Insurance Reform, or FAIR. They want a Constitutional Amendment placed on the November 2020 ballot to implement a single-payer health system in Florida (01:08).       

We were told the results of a poll asking local residents their thoughts on the future of the St. Johns River with Dr. Quint White and Dr. Ray Oldakowski from Jacksonville University (29:22).

We heard about a move in the Duval County School District to get rid of traditional school lockers with district IT executive director Jim Culbert (36:56).  

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council Executive Director Christina Parrish told us about this weekend’s Porchfest and Kerry Speckman previewed this month’s upcoming events (46:00).  

St. Johns River Taxi

Sen. Rob Bradley’s, R-Orange Park, proposal to increase funding for the St. Johns River, springs and the Keystone Heights Lake Region cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday, gaining unanimous approval from the Senate’s Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. Bradley is the chairman.


Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we heard about the 2017 edition of the State of the River Report with co-authors University of North Florida Chemistry Professor Dr. Radha Pyati and Associate Research Scientist Dr. Gerry Pinto at the Jacksonville University Science Research Institute (01:07).  

We were told about a new partnership between UNF and the Peace Corp called Peace Call Prep with UNF Peace Corp Prep Advisor Dr. Tim Robinson, and UNF alumnus and returned Peace Corp volunteer Frances Luna (24:53).    

Patty Crosby of Hospice of the Golden Isles spoke about this weekend’s St. Simons Food and Spirits Festival (32:30).    

We heard about the Fall Makery, a move to get more people to buy local products with The Makery co-founders Sara Flowers and Taryn Nilson. Along on hand were Sailors Siren co-owner Whitney Canney and Fish Lips Paper Design owner Kimi Chronis. They were joined by Kerry Speckman who talked about other upcoming events this month (42:03).  

   

Lindsey Kilbride

This year’s State of the River Report concludes there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to some nutrients and pollutants that cause toxic algal blooms, including chlorophyll and fecal coliform. That’s even though levels of certain pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen, have been trending downward in the last 10 years.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) is asking the Florida Legislature to appropriate $25 million more dollars for springs restoration next year.

Bradley is building on a funding increase from the last legislative session.


Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former CSX executive Dale Lewis (01:02) about his research into the pros and cons of dredging the St. Johns River. Robert E. Lee High School students Alan McCullough and Devon Brown, along with their teacher Amy Donofrio (28:55) told us about the Evacuation Movement program. Deb Chapin and Brian Anderson (36:51) with the Ponte Vedra Greenway Alliance discussed the upcoming “Palm Valley Storytelling Day,” and travel blogger Judy Wells (44:25) told us about her recent trip to Poland. 

 

St. Johns River Ferry Ridership On The Rise

May 26, 2017
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Ridership is increasing on Jacksonville’s St. Johns River Ferry. The future of the ferry had been uncertain until the public Jacksonville Transportation Authority took over ownership last year.

Nineteen vehicles were lined up waiting to board at Mayport Friday afternoon. John Wilson and his wife visiting from Georgia were relaxing with the windows down while they waited.


Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT News

The St. Johns Riverkeeper has filed a federal lawsuit to try to block plans to deepen the river for larger ships to enter JaxPort.

The nonprofit Riverkeeper filed the suit Friday against the Army Corps of Engineers for its environmental analysis of a proposed 7-foot deepening of 13 miles of the St. Johns River.

Jesse Hanson

The St. Johns Riverkeeper is hosting a two-week event to acquaint Northeast Florida residents with the river.

Riverkeeper spokeswoman Shannon Blankinship said many people see the river when driving over a bridge, but not many actually get up close and personal with the water.

Lindsey Kilbride

A Northeast Florida state senator is trying to get more environmental dollars flowing toward the St. Johns River.

He’s proposing $35 million more for projects along the river that flows from Central Florida to Jacksonville.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

A Jacksonville City Council bill is asking for more environmental conservation money for North Florida. The language in the measure is based on a resolution a new group is pushing Florida city governments to adopt, and some Florida city officials are questioning the group’s motives.


Jacksonville's Northbank
Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Schellenberg wants to urge the state to dedicate more conservation dollars to Northeast and Central Florida.

His resolution says too much money is going to projects down south.


The Main Street Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville
Blake Allen

The Florida Department of Transportation is investigating damage to Jacksonville’s Main Street Bridge after a river cruise ship crashed into it Friday evening.

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