In the News
Follow the latest news about our St. Johns River
November 5, 2021 | Palatka Daily News
Frolicking with History
“Since we started this in 2017, the kids have always loved (it),” said Emily Floore, education director for the St. Johns Riverkeeper. “I mean, who doesn’t love to learn outside?”
October 21, 2021 | Florida Times Union
Riverkeeper urges support for restoring the Ocklawaha
At St. Johns Riverkeeper, we sometimes feel like we are sticking our finger in the proverbial dam, doing all that we can to hold back the threats and prevent more degradation to our majestic river. However, there is one dam we do not need to keep in place — a dam that is an unnecessary relic of the past yet continues to harm the St. Johns.
October 20, 2021 | News 4 Jax
Riverkeeper gives St. Johns River a ‘C-’ grade
The State of the River Report addresses four main areas of river health: water quality; fisheries; aquatic life; and contaminants.
Fall 2021 | WUFT News and the UF College of Journalism and Communications
Sludge and the St. Johns
Wetlands and other vegetation surrounding the St. Johns help protect the river; they are the kidneys that filter pollution and help keep the water clean. But like kidneys, they can only take so much.
October 5, 2021 | News 4 Jax
Algae bloom toxins in St. Johns River raise concerns of Riverkeeper
“Our sample results demonstrate how toxic some of these algae blooms can be,” said Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper.
August 25, 2021 | WJCT News
3 Area Nonprofits Call For End To Coal Ash Transport Through Jacksonville
“Utilities must be required to take responsibility for their own waste and should not be allowed to put other communities at risk with their pollution, especially those who had nothing to do with producing it,” said Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper.
August 19, 2021 | First Coast News
St. Johns Riverkeeper EcoTours encourage conservation
“We just want to get people out on the tributaries and on the St. Johns River so we all learn about it and have a memory that we want to protect,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Education Director Emily Floore.
April 7, 2021 | Florida Times-Union
When it comes to handling sewage, Florida is a sludge show
“We have a poop problem,” said Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper. “And it’s a brewing crisis.”
April 2, 2021 | The West Volusia Beacon
Water, water everywhere – at least we hope so
“People come to Florida with all these expectations, like a palm tree in their yard and perfectly manicured grass. That may not be the best thing,” said Gabbie Milch, St. Johns Riverkeeper Middle Basin Advocacy Coordinator.
March 4, 2021 | The Resident News
Tiny Dock Concerts grow, activate the River
“In line with our personal and wellness business mission, we really just want people to smile and be lifted up, to connect with each other, and to be inspired to infuse goodness and wellness around them,” shared Amber Osborne, creator of the Tiny Dock Concert Series.
March 3, 2021 | Eco-Magazine
Harmful Algae Blooms and the Land Disposal of Biosolids – What Are the Real Costs?
“All agricultural crops can be grown profitably without the use of biosolids as a nutrient source. Land disposal of biosolids is not efficient nutrient management. It is simply convenient human waste disposal.”
February 26, 2021 | Florida Times-Union
Guest column: Our parks are not for sale
“The bottom line is we need more parks and access to our river, not less. We also need to protect and invest in the ones we already own,” wrote Jimmy Orth, St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director.
February 23, 2021 | The Florida Times-Union
Khan’s plan for Four Seasons Hotel could replace some of Metropolitan Park with new park
“We need to protect our parks. They are sacred ground, and we need to invest in the ones we already have, including Metropolitan Park,” said Jimmy Orth, Executive Director, and Steering Committee Member of Riverfront Parks Now.
February 17, 2021 | The Guardian
The Jacksonville environmental groups trying to tackle racial disparities
“We are trying to do that work and are extremely open to any community organization that represents communities of color, any community that doesn’t feel represented in the resiliency effort,” said Coalition Chair Shannon Blankinship and St Johns Riverkeeper Advocacy Director.
February 2, 2021 | The Gainesville Sun
Ocklawaha advocates want recreation hubs on free-flowing river
“A wise Putnam County commissioner told me we have to show people what they will gain, not just what they will lose,” said Margaret Spontak, president of Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone.
January 13, 2021 | WJCT
St. Johns Riverkeeper Joins Suit Challenging Fla. Wetlands Permitting Change
“For us to protect the St Johns River, it’s critical for us to protect wetlands. Wetlands are the kidneys of the river and of all Florida waters.
January 13, 2021 | Florida Times-Union
Florida takes wetlands permitting role from federal government; only 3rd state to do so
“Important checks and balances that have protected thousands of acres of wetlands within our watershed will be lost without federal oversight,” said your St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman.
December 20, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
Editorial: Resiliency gains momentum in Jacksonville
“Jacksonville is fortunate to have so many people who are passionate about the river and its ecosystem. We hope there is the political will needed to incorporate standards for resiliency into our city codes and to set an expectation for developers that resiliency is just part of the cost of doing business in this river city.”
December 10, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
Green groups start drive to remove dam at Rodman Reservoir, opening Ocklawaha River
‘The restoration of the Ocklawaha is the most important step to restoring and making the St. Johns River resilient to sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman.
November 6, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp roll out license plates to support St. Johns Riverkeeper
“The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp acknowledgment of how important the river is sends a powerful message that we have to protect the river and we have to take care of it. It’s important to our community and important to our economy,” said Jimmy Orth St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director.
November 6, 2020 | Minor League Baseball
Jumbo Shrimp introduce specialty license tag, bobblehead specials for anniversary celebration
In partnership with the St. Johns Riverkeeper, we’re the first minor league team in Florida to offer a specialty license tag.
November 1, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
PASSIONATE ADVOCATE: Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper, protects Jacksonville’s most valuable natural asset
“There will be a tipping point where we can’t get back. 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,” said your St. Johns Riverkeeper, Lisa Rinaman.
October 30, 2020 | The Resident
New coalition advocates for public green space along river
“We need to prioritize the public use of the riverfront instead of making development the priority,” said Jimmy Orth, executive director of the St. Johns Riverkeeper. “That doesn’t mean there can’t be development. Parks attract both people and business, and are a buffer against sea-level rise, Louisville has seen a $40 million annual economic impact from its parks.”
October 15, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
Nate Monroe: Tens of millions in hidden St. Johns River dredging costs surface
“If the Army Corps did indeed recently determine the lines need to be higher, it would represent a massive error in its original analysis of the dredging project that would call into question its other significant findings — like, for example, the conclusion that dredging 7 feet out of the river bottom will only have negligible environmental impacts on the river. What else did the Army Corps get wrong?”
September 4, 2020 | Ocala Gazette
Free the Ocklawaha and we’ll all benefit
“When Gov. Ron DeSantis took office last year, he made a lot of promises about water protection and preservation. Maybe he’ll join the long list of his predecessors and finally move to remove the Rodman.”
September 3, 2020 | Florida Times-Union Editorial Board
Editorial: A win-win plan for the Ocklawaha River
“An artificial lake doesn’t fit the desire for authenticity today. But a return to Mother Nature, the real Florida, does.”
August 25, 2020 | Waterkeeper Alliance
“The damage is going to be so deep and the soil so saturated that we are going to have decades of legacy pollution problems,” said your St. Johns Riverkeeper, Lisa Rinaman.
July 29, 2020 | JAX Daily Record
City Council authorizes $100 million for JaxPort St. Johns River dredging
“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.
July 28, 2020 | WJCT News 89.9
Jacksonville City Council Unanimously Approves $75 M For St. Johns River Dredging
“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.
July 20, 2020 | Ocala Gazette
Endangered designation could reignite old debate about the future of Ocklawaha River
“Rodman Dam is the reason it’s in trouble,” Ritter said.
July 20, 2020 | News4Jax
State addressing silt plume from Roosevelt Marketplace construction site
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!
July 19, 2020 | The Florida Times-Union Editorial Board
Capitalize on a big opportunity for Jacksonville’s riverfront parks
“Now let’s pull together all the waterfront into a great civic asset that takes full use of the majestic St. Johns River. What other city has dolphins frolicking in their front yard? That is why Riverfront Parks Now is needed. The time is right for effective advocacy of our Downtown riverfront. Let’s have a grand plan for a great river.”
July 19, 2020 | Florida Times-Union
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Jacksonville’s riverfront parks great
“Together, we can seize this opportunity to prioritize public access and create a world-class riverfront that reestablishes downtown as the heartbeat of Jacksonville. Contact your City Council members. Let them know you support the creation of an iconic riverfront for the people, beginning with a cohesive master plan that is developed through a community-driven visioning process. The time is right. The time is now.”
July 13, 2020 | News4Jax
Construction site spills silt into Ortega River on rainy days
“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.
July 4, 2020 | Florida Times Union
Jacksonville City Council faces $70 million vote on river deepening for cargo ships
“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.)
June 2, 2020 | Florida Times Union
Editorial: More mitigation funding is needed as a result of deepening of the St. Johns River.
“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.
May 29, 2020 | First Coast News
Jacksonville pollution enforcement another casualty of the pandemic
“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.”
April 14, 2020 | Florida Times Union
Waters close to Duval on ‘most endangered’ list for country
“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.”
April 14, 2020 | Orlando Sentinel
Ocklawaha River of Central Florida named among nation’s 10 most endangered
“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.”
March 3, 2020 | Florida Times Union
Mark Woods: We’re killing trees, growing ghost forests
“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.”
February 22, 2020 | West Volusia Beacon
Ghost forest: A battle between environmentalists and bass anglers locks the Ocklawaha in purgatory
“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.”
February 12, 2020 | WJCT
Environmentalists Criticize Fla. Chief Science Officer For Praising Clean Waterways Act
“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.”
February 11, 2020 | WJCT
JAXPORT Announces ‘Major Victory’ In Federal Funding For River Deepening
“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.
January 14, 2020 | First Coast News
Report: Jacksonville could see 100-year floods in 30 years due to rising sea-levels
“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.”
October 20, 2019 | Florida Times Union
Guest column: Saltwater intrusion is a threat to the St. Johns River
“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.”
October 7, 2019 | Florida Times Union
Algae board backs protection for downstream parts of St. Johns River
“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.”
September 16, 2019 | First Coast News
Riverkeeper: ‘Alarming’ findings in annual St. Johns River report
“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.
September 13, 2019 | Florida Today
Group: St. Johns River pollution threatens water supplies
“Florida must prioritize a comprehensive statewide solution to deal with human waste,” Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, said in a statement.
August 31, 2019 | First Coast News
Alternative options for potable drinking water ahead of Hurricane Dorian
“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.
August 26, 2019 | WJCT
Sea Level Rise Task Force Wraps Up, Will Urge Jacksonville to Curb Emissions
“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.
August 14, 2019 | VOID Magazine
The River’s Voice: A look into the work of Lisa Rinaman
“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.
July 19, 2019 | Orlando Sentinel
Melbourne water supply found to contain potentially toxic algae
“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.
July 19, 2019 | Florida Today
A ‘nasty’ algae blankets Lake Washington
“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.
July 9, 2019 | Clay Today
Toxic Puzzle pieces together research to understand algae 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.
July 2, 2019 | West Volusia Beacon
Algae Blooms in St. Johns River; fertilizer ban in effect
“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.
June 14, 2019 | Palatka Daily News
Riverkeeper watching St. Johns for more algae blooms
“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.
June 13, 2019 | WLRN
Can Florida’s New Blue-Green Algae Task Force Fix the State’s Fouled Waters?
“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.
May 18, 2019 | Spectrum News 13
Experts Warn year Could be “Perfect Storm” for Toxic Algae Blooms
“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.
May 10, 2019 | First Coast News
Algae conditions in the St. Johns River could be the ‘perfect storm’
“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.