The following is a letter and video from St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon with an important announcement for our dedicated supporters:

Dear Friends,

I‘ve had the honor of being your St. Johns Riverkeeper for more than eight years now. During this time, you have shown me support, love, commitment and compassion. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with citizens along the entire length of the magnificent St. Johns River.

I want to share something with you. This will be my last year as your St. Johns Riverkeeper. I plan to step down in February of 2012.  I’ve reached this decision with much thought and Nan’s input and support.

When I moved to Jacksonville and was named the St. Johns Riverkeeper, I believed the community was on the cusp of a historic shift related to its relationship to the St. Johns River.  Little could I have imagined the success and progress St. Johns Riverkeeper, and our community, would achieve in the succeeding years. Thanks to you, the St. Johns River is now our community’s centerpiece, and the commitment to its protection and restoration is shared by citizens, businesses, and elected officials along its 310 mile-length.

My original intention was to serve in this position for two years. Your unwavering support and belief in our work made it easy to continue well beyond that tenure.

I believe now is the time for change in the St. Johns Riverkeeper position. I’ve always said, “We’re an organization not a person.” That statement has never been truer.

St. Johns Riverkeeper is entering a new and exciting phase in our development. Our programs have never been stronger, and under Jimmy's leadership and with the help of Deb, Kelly, Greg and Barbara, our important work will continue. Our new office at the JU Marine Science Research Institute gives us unlimited potential for further outreach, programs, and progress.

I have some time before I step down. With your help, I intend to work tirelessly to seek a resolution to the Georgia Pacific pipeline issue. SAY NO TO THE PIPE!

I will continue to work with our statewide coalition to make sure the implementation of an effective nutrient reduction program reaches a successful end. I will continue to work with you to monitor the health of the St. Johns and to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.  And, I will be working with our search committee to find the right person to fill this important St. Johns Riverkeeper position.

We have established a committee to conduct a national search for my replacement. Several of the committee members served in this same capacity when I was hired. Let me assure you that we will find the right person to serve as your new St. Johns Riverkeeper, and he or she will continue the work we began over a decade ago. Nothing will change, except for the face and voice of the river.

In closing, let me caution those reading this who believe my departure indicates a shift in St. Johns Riverkeeper’s commitment to protecting and defending the St. Johns River at all costs. It does not. We will continue to speak out in defense of the river and hold those who harm it accountable. That’s what we do, and that work will continue long after my departure.

I’m not going anywhere for awhile, and I will continue to send out occasional emails to keep you informed of our search process.

On a personal note, I’ve always believed change is a good thing, and I’m excited about the future. I intend to continue to work to make our community a better place after I leave St. Johns Riverkeeper.

Thank you again for your support and dedication to our work.  Words cannot express how honored I am to be your St. Johns Riverkeeper and to continue serving you and your river until I step down from my post in 2012.

For the River,

Neil Armingeon
Your St. Johns Riverkeeper 

Read the press release by clicking here.