St. Johns Riverkeeper is monitoring 80 miles of the most threatened habitat of the St. Johns River over five years

In May 2023, St. Johns RIVERKEEPER (SJRK) launched the SAVe Our River’s Grasses Expedition, seeking answers and solutions to the massive loss of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) that has occurred in the St. Johns River in recent years. May 28-31, the SJRK advocacy team is setting off on year two of this five-year expedition.

Submerged river grasses are critical to the health of our river – providing biofiltration, fish habitat, flood protection and more. Without it, the St. Johns could turn into a dead zone which is absolutely unacceptable,” urged Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

On May 28, SJRK launches its next 4-day field expedition to survey an 80-mile stretch of the river between Doctors Lake (Clay County) and Lake George (Putnam County) – searching for remaining grass beds, conducting water quality testing, and seeking urgently needed solutions to restore this vital habitat.

SJRK has committed to continuing this Expedition for a total of five years to investigate the case of the lost grasses and collect data over time, all while working with our river communities and state and federal agencies to do everything we can to SAVe Our River’s Grasses.

During the upcoming field visit, we will collect more data and continue our conversation with homeowners, anglers, river enthusiasts, business owners and scientists to better understand our river and its significance to our communities, our economy and our lives.

Aboard St. Johns RIVERKEEPER’s patrol boat, the Kingfisher, we will visit the following sites:

  • Tuesday, May 28: Clay County – Doctors Lake; St. Johns County – Fruit Cove, Orangedale, Colee Cove, Bayard Conservation Area
  • Wednesday, May 29: Putnam County – Mays Cove, Dancy Point, Forrester Point, San Mateo
  • Thursday, May 30: Putnam County – Floridian Club, Beechers Point, Jenerson Point
  • Friday, May 31: Putnam County – Drayton Island, Georgetown North, Georgetown South

Field visit findings, data collected, next steps, potential solutions and opportunities, testimonials from local residents and more from SJRK’s first year of the Expedition have all been compiled on the SJRK website, available for the public to view.

Ben Williams, avid fisherman and founder of Fisherman’s Dock Seafood Market, is one of the community members offering his dock for our research in St. Johns County. “All of our river communities’ economies depend on a healthy river and the health of the St. Johns depends on healthy eelgrass,” he said.

Help Us Make a Difference For the River

St. Johns RIVERKEEPER is the voice for the St. Johns River. We will continue to learn all we can and take meaningful action toward a healthier river ecosystem. Together, we can make a difference – for the river and for us all! Locals who love the St. Johns River can support this effort directly to impact our river’s health for the better.