St. Johns Riverkeeper

Barge Bridgeport Response

The St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Northeast Florida Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation’s First Coast Chapter are calling for the city of Jacksonville to stop accepting coal ash through local ports after a barge from Puerto Rico spilled as much as 4,000 tons of the industrial byproduct into coastal waterways. 

Wetland Preserve
North Florida Land Trust

A coalition of environmental groups, including the St. Johns Riverkeeper, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a potentially far-reaching move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to shift permitting authority to Florida for projects that affect wetlands.

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. 

Aerial shot of cargo ship approaching JAXPORT
JAXPORT

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

The St. Johns River
The University of North Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law measures that include bigger fines for dumping pollutants into waterways and new rules for septic tanks and agricultural runoff, though environmentalists said the rules don’t go far enough.

Federal Judge Rejects St. Johns Riverkeeper's Bid To Halt River Deepening

May 27, 2020
JAXPORT

A federal judge has ruled against the St. Johns Riverkeeper’s attempt to halt deepening of the St. Johns River, saying the non-profit did not meet the high burden of showing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to assess the environmental impacts of dredging the river for bigger cargo container ships.

An iPhone displays a Facebook page.
Jenny Kane / Associated Press

The St. Johns Riverkeeper has launched a social media campaign to help Northeast Floridians cope with the coronavirus pandemic through nature.

Florida's Chief Science Officer Tom Frazer.
IFAS News / University of Florida

Environmental advocates from around Florida are calling on the state’s chief science officer to walk back his praise for a proposal making its way through the Legislature that’s aimed at improving water quality.

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.


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.


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman about the dangers to the river and its tributaries due to Hurricane Irma (01:10).

Tim Brack, Medtronic’s Ear, Nose and Throat division marketing manager told us about treatments for the sinus condition known as Chronic Rhinosinustis or CRS (31:52).

We also heard about two upcoming events connected to Volunteers in Medicine.

Noor Ashouri is the Director of Marketing with First Coast Cardiovascular and Aimee Boggs is with Raymond James. You’ll learn more about Volunteers in Medicine’s Women with Heart for September (39:43). 


KEVIN MEERSCHAERT / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche said in a letter she will not be convening a public workshop about JAXPORT’s deepening of the St. Johns River to make way for larger cargo ships.

The annual Swim Shorts Film Festival is happening for the second year at Jacksonville’s Sun-Ray Cinema on Aug. 16.

The film fest is a fundraiser for the St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit environmental watchdog group.

“We just want people to participate and have fun,” said festival organizer Laura Bearl on “First Coast Connect” Monday.

KEVIN MEERSCHAERT / WJCT News

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.     


JAXPORT

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman says JAXPORT is trying to pull an end-around regarding its new proposal to dredge the river channel.

She said there has not been enough public scrutiny of the plan.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman (01:02) about JAXPORT’s newly modified plan to deepen the river’s channel. Retired Captain Matt Tuohy from the Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition and Pelocity CEO Stephen Pollan (33:04) talked about the company’s program to help veterans find jobs. Flamingo Magazine publisher Jamie Rich (40:31) told us about its summer edition and Kerry Speckman (45:16) let us know what’s going on around town this weekend. 


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