In the News

Follow the latest news about our St. Johns River

“Any of you representing low-lying areas know that inches truly matter, and the bottom line is the dredging will harm our river and it will make our community more vulnerable to future storms and flooding,” said your St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman.
“Not only does this plan do nothing to offset even the damage the Corps has acknowledged is likely, it leaves us with absolutely no room for error. Our river is too complex, the models too imprecise and imperfect, our knowledge too limited, and the potential consequences too great to blindly accept the Corps’ analysis,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth during the City Council meeting.
“Rodman Dam is the reason it’s in trouble,” Ritter said.
Thank you to the community and residents in the area for documenting the plumes flowing into our River. Your reports are crucial in determining and solving problems!
“The first time that we saw an active violation of construction at the Roosevelt mall was in January of 2020. We’ve continued to receive reports through April, May and June,” said Shannon Blanknship, St. Johns Riverkeeper Advocacy Director.

“This is too important of a decision to rush it through the council, especially considering the current economic situation our city is facing and the fact that, to date, the council as a body has not publicly discussed and evaluated the pros and cons of this project,” said Jimmy Orth, executive director of Riverkeeper.

Summer 2020 | Earth Island Journal
Florida’s Lost Springs

“When the dam went into place in 1968 it severed connections, and we are not seeing the biodiversity in Silver Springs that was there before the dam,” Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and co-chair of the Free the Ocklawaha advocacy committee, says. (Riverkeepers are an international network of water protectors who are the voices of rivers and hold polluters accountable.)

“There will be a tipping point where we can’t get back,” Rinaman warned. “Now we still have an opportunity to do things right. We are fortunate to have 600,000 acres of conservation land along the St. Johns River. We need to protect that land. We need to protect the headwaters of our tributaries. We need to provide buffers so we can protect wetlands to keep out pollution.”

“The steering committee certainly understands the diversity issue and it was glaringly obvious to our steering committee that we are not diverse, and so we recognize that as a real need,” replied St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth, who’s a member of the coalition’s steering committee.

“Unfortunately, our environment has been seen as ‘nonessential,’ and it think that’s a mistake,” says St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth.

April 21, 2020 | Florida Times Union
Mark Woods: Even during pandemic, Earth Day matters

“Fifty years ago, smog routinely blanketed many big cities. In Jacksonville, the air smelled hold-your-nose rotten. And while Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River became the poster child for dirty water after it caught fire in the summer of 1969, the St. Johns River was so polluted that Gov. Claude Kirk said, ‘If you fall in, you will die of pollution before you drown.’

The fact that we’ve taken many positive steps since 1970 — both locally and nationally — didn’t happen by accident.”

“Reconnecting and restoring the St. Johns, Ocklawaha and Silver Springs by breaching the Rodman Dam offers a much-needed stimulus project,” Rinaman argued. She said the change “provides jobs, increases visitor traffic and restores three of Florida’s most loved waterways creating an unprecedented environmental and economic lift to Northeast Florida during a critical point in our history.”

“Dam removal wold bring “an unprecedented environmental and economic lift to Northeast Florida during a critical point in our history,” said Lisa Rinaman with the Jacksonville-based St. Johns Riverkeeper environmental group.

“You may not be able to get out and experience the river right now, but we are going to try to bring the river to you,” Orth said. To do that, the Riverkeeper has started  #HeySJRKLookAtThis, inviting everyone to share pictures and videos of nature including the St. Johns River using the hashtag.”

“It’s not just dredging,” Rinaman said. “It’s also sea-level rise. As the ocean rises, you’re getting more saltwater further in. But the dredging is accelerating that. One of the studies talked about total tree mortality in some of these creeks.”

“A boat tour for members of the media Feb. 18 was organized by the Free the Ocklawaha Coalition, which includes 33 organizations from across the state. Representatives from the St. Johns Riverkeeper, Florida Defenders of the Environment, and Defenders of Wildlife accompanied the journalists on our tour.”

“It is critical that the Legislature adopts strong, enforceable, science-based policies that not only protect our waters from existing pollution sources, but protects our waters from rapid growth and climate change. And this bill currently, as written, does not,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman. “In 2019 the St. Johns River experienced more than 90 days of toxic blue green algae and this bill will not do anything to reverse that trend.”

“If we’re going to continue to allow a project that will make us more vulnerable in the face of future storms, then the city needs to invest in resiliency, and that means having a chief resilience officer looking at the projects that need to happen immediately to protect us,” she said.

“We’ve been seeing sunny day flooding events increasing gradually, but we’re seeing it already,” she said. “We don’t need to look to the next five, 10, 20 or 50 years to experience sea-level rise or to experience the impacts of climate change,” Blankinship said.”

November 28, 2019 | Florida Times Union
Selling JEA could harm the St. Johns River

“We need a utility that sees the St. Johns River as essential to our community’s identity, economy and quality of life, not as a source for waste disposal or the withdraw of surface water to fuel future growth. As a result, we believe JEA should remain a locally owned public utility.”

“While some may view climate change as a distant problem, sea level rise and a warming planet are having significant impacts on the St. Johns River and the state of Florida right now.”
“The real answer, Rinaman said, is for protections from sludge spreading around the St. Johns to be the same as around the Everglades, so pollution from one part of Florida isn’t just moved down the road.”
“If you can’t have boaters out there fishing, spending money in marinas, going to bait shops, restaurants, that’s an economic impact,” Rinaman said.
“Florida must prioritize a comprehensive statewide solution to deal with human waste,” Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, said in a statement.
“Our first instinct is we want water, and we’re not thinking of the impact of all that plastic of those bottles we’re purchasing,” Jimmy Orth, executive director of the St. Johns Riverkeeper says many of those plastics are not being recycled.
“We should really round in this conversation that our group limited itself to discussing adaptation within this vulnerable land [the AAA], and did not discuss ways to mitigate against future sea level rise via policies about limiting greenhouse gas exposure or all the things that the City can be doing to reduce its impact on climate change at this point,” said Shannon Blankinship, St. Johns Riverkeeper Advocacy Director. 
“There is a cost of doing nothing,” Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper warns. 

July 29, 2019 | First Coast News
Sewage Sludge is Polluting the River

“The petition is trying to ask for the same protection that South Florida has for the St. Johns River watershed until we can come up with a holistic solution for what to do with our waste,” said Shannon Blankinship, St. Johns Riverkeeper Advocacy Director. 

July 23, 2019 | Folio Weekly
Keep It Clean

“We believe Casey DeSantis is critically important because not only does she have our governor’s ear, she also has a platform through which she can make sure moms across Florida have a voice for clean water as well,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper of our Moms for Clean Water campaign.
“It has really been discouraging,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper, who has pushed state officials to impose more stringent regulations on the handling of biosolids.
“It was like kayaking in pea soup.The gas from the algae was bubbling up and giving off awful smells,” said Bill Zoby, St Johns Riverkeeper Headwaters Advisory Council. 

July 12, 2019 | Florida Sportman 
Watermen Documentaries – Biosolids

Mike Conner meets with St. Johns Riverkeeper, Lisa Rinaman to discuss the biosolids entering the St. John’s and how they are contributing to the increased phosphorus levels and toxic algal blooms.

“We don’t just want to show the film and have everyone go home scared of the water around them. We want this film to raise questions and we want to see those questions answered.” said Kelly Thompson, St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director. 

“Algal blooms are visual symptoms that the river is sick,” said Kelly Thompson, St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director. 

June 21, 2019 | Florida Times-Union
EVE 2019: Lisa Rinaman puts focus on St. Johns River

“I fell in love with the magic of Florida waters,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper.

“We’re using that science and using the power of citizen influence and voices to affect change,” said Kelly Thompson, St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director. 

“We can’t buy our way out of Florida’s algae crisis. We need to not only have projects but enhanced regulatory protections and education,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper.

June 13, 2019 | Tampa Bay Business Journal
State task force tackles toxic algae

“We can’t buy our way out of Florida’s algae crisis,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper.

May 20, 2019 | Florida Times-Union
Legislature dropped the ball on toxic green algae

“We urge DeSantis to make sure the task force addresses the needs of all of Florida’s waters — including the St. Johns — and focuses on stopping pollution at its source.” – wrote Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper. 

“The thing that concerns me about what’s happening up north is that it is happening so early in the year before the water temperatures and our summer really begins,” said Gabbie Milch, St. Johns Riverkeeper Middle Basin Coordinator.

“So this could truly turn into a super bloom. A super bloom is when you have a large area covered with green algae for a long period of time. Some people call it the green monster,” said Lisa Rinaman, your St. Johns Riverkeeper.