St. Johns Riverkeeper

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.

Green algae bloom in Palatka.
Sam Carr

The St. Johns Riverkeeper says multiple blue-green algal blooms have been reported in the Welaka, Satsuma and Palatka areas of Florida.

Storm Resiliency and Infrastructure Development Review Committee members met for the first time Friday.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s new Storm Resiliency and Infrastructure Development Review Committee met for the first time Friday afternoon and members agreed their first order of business will be to take a look at the rules and regulations surrounding new developments in the city and how to retrofit existing infrastructure.

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.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Our Friday First Coast Connect featured Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duval, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Jacksonville Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk.

Topics included

Edie Widder / Via St. Johns Riverkeeper

South Florida’s lakes and rivers aren’t the only waterways in the state experiencing toxic algal blooms.

Developer Drops Julington-Durbin Creek Land Swap Plan

Jun 28, 2018
Adam Arendell

A developer is abandoning a controversial land swap involving 403 acres of environmentally sensitive land on Black Hammock Island and a plan to develop a like-size tract in the Julington-Durbin Preserve. Instead, he intends to sell the Black Hammock land to the state for conservation. 

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we were joined by St. John Riverkeeper Advocacy Director Shannon Blankenship and Outreach Director Kelly Patton to talk about their series of town meetings beginning Thursday dealing with the dangers of rising water levels in the river (01:05).  

Will Dickey

Wednesday on First Coast Connect with guest host Ryan Benk we heard about a controversial preservation land swap proposal by Bartram Park Developer Tom Dodson in which the state would give him back about 400 acres at theJulington-Durbin Peninsula in return for the state receiving about 400 acres on Black Hammock Island.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT


Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis (01:16).

Our Going Green segment featured Shannon Blankenship and Kelly Patton with the St. Johns Riverkeeper. They discussed their upcoming Great St Johns River Campout (29:06).

This month’s Women with Heart for Volunteers in Medicine featured Dr. Estrellita Redmon, President of St. Vincent’s Medical Group (37:57).   

We spoke with local actor, producer and author Nick Loren about his latest children’s book (46:00).

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Folio Weekly Editor Claire Goforth, WJCT contributor and board member Charles Griggs and Florida Politics Reporter A.G Gancarski. (01:17).

We spoke with Scott Meyer who operates Congaree and Penn farm about the upcoming Olive Weekend (38:50).

Musician and Florida native Ben Sparaco performed live in-studio (46:00).  


Contributed Photo

A federal judge Friday rejected attempts by the St. Johns Riverkeeper to temporarily halt JAXPORT’s proposed deepening of a section of the St. Johns River.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman about an injunction the group filed to postpone the dredging of the St. Johns River (01:01).

North Florida Transportation Planning Organization spokesperson Marci Larson talked about a survey of the region’s residents being conducted regarding their traffic and transportation concerns in the area (30:05).

Singer-songwriter DeSean Kirkland joined the show to tell us about an upcoming Christmas concert and to perform live in-studio (46:00). 


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.


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.


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