2022 was an exciting year of growth for St. Johns Riverkeeper. Our work toward our mission – to defend the St. Johns River and advocate for its protection – has been strategic, steadfast, and as always, based in science and truth.
We’ve expanded programming to get more people out on the river to experience what our watershed has to offer. Our science team, legal team, and headwaters advisory council have worked closely with the St. Johns Riverkeeper to guide our decisions and priorities. We’ve received more inquiries than ever from groups and businesses who want to make a difference through team cleanups and learning more about our advocacy priorities.
St. Johns Riverkeeper is humbled to report our annual progress and successes in advocacy, education, and community outreach as we work together toward our vision of a thriving St. Johns River Watershed:
- We’ve achieved significant support for one of the most beneficial and cost-effective springs and river restoration projects in Florida today – reuniting Silver Springs, the Ocklawaha and the St. Johns Rivers. Based on a scientific poll, nearly 80% of the likely voters in Putnam and Marion Counties who participated in the poll favor breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam and restoring the natural flow of the Ocklawaha River. Only 6% were opposed to restoration.
- Our science team and legal partners from Public Trust for Conservation gathered data and evidence to advocate for additional protections and more sustainable disposal practices to address Florida’s sewage sludge crisis and to protect our Headwaters from the inequitable transfer of more than 50,000 tons of South Florida’s sewage sludge annually.
- We implemented a Clean Water Act Industrial Stormwater Permit Compliance Initiative in partnership with Public Trust for Conservation resulting in a reduction of polluted runoff from multiple industrial sites.
- As a member of JEA’s Integrated Resource Plan’s Stakeholders Committee, we have advocated for JEA’s commitment to renewable energy leading to JEA’s commitment to an expansion of solar farms as a first step.
- Our Water Policy Group launched a series of Brewery Talks delving deeper into the issues affecting tributary residents, whose voices may not have traditionally been heard, addressing problems contributing to pollution, sea level rise, and flooding.
- We hosted or partnered on 18 events in the Middle Basin, including the continuation of our Volusia 2070 series of workshops with 1000 Friends of Florida focused on activating the community to advocate for river-friendly, smart growth and development.
- Rising Tides, St. Johns Riverkeeper’s young professionals group, reached the milestone of 10 years cleaning up McCoys Creek on a monthly basis. This year, they collected more than 300 bags of trash along the tributary.
- We hosted 20 cleanups with employees from local businesses and corporations along the river and its tributaries.
- We shared the science, history, and wonder of the river with over 2,000 children across the watershed.
- Every 2nd grade student in Putnam County got the opportunity to take an eco boat tour of the St. Johns River with our education team.
- Thanks to a grant from the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation, we expanded our River Exploration boat trip offering for Title I Duval County Public Schools.
- Our education team partnered with Clay County Parks and Recreation to host the first annual Black Creek EcoFest, and brought river education to 250 children and their families from Clay, Duval, Putnam, St Johns, and Bradford Counties.
- St. Johns Riverkeeper’s staff grew to include a full-time education specialist, a community engagement coordinator in Putnam County, and a development director.
Looking back, we are proud of what we accomplished together this past year, for the river. Looking forward, there is much work to be done, and we are confident that this year we will take even bigger strides as we continue to be your trusted voice, advocate, and watchdog for our St. Johns River.
Become a member of St. Johns Riverkeeper today and be a part of our success!