Save Your Tributary


TRIBUTARIES ARE VITAL.  A tributary is a river or stream that feeds into a larger body of water; in our case, the St. Johns River. In the Lower Basin of the St. Johns, dozens of tributaries flow into the river.  Unfortunately, almost all of these water bodies are polluted.


DIRT/SEDIMENTATION enter from neighborhood streets and roads, construction site runoff, old infrastructure, and flooding.

NUTRIENTS come from fertilizers, lawns, septic tanks, sewage sludge, agriculture, and storms that stir up the river bottom.

BACTERIA enter from failing septic tanks, wastewater discharges and overflows, agriculture, wildlife and pet waste.

METALS reach our waterways from industrial discharges, legacy sediments from historic industrial activity, power plants, air pollution.

*Targeted tributaries are taken from the list of impaired waterways in the Lower St. Johns River Basin and combined with the highly used and accessed waterways. For detailed data on pollution in your tributary, see State of the River Report, sections 2 and 5, or visit Florida DEP 101 – BMAPs. For an understanding of highly used tributaries, see the Duval Maritime Management Plan.  For results from monitoring in Duval County, see stations, maps, recent data and charts. Check out the Duval County monitoring results by map.


Arlington River

Black Creek

Goodbys Creek

Ortega and Cedar Rivers

Trout and Ribault Rivers

Big and Little Fishweir Creeks

Julington and Durbin Creeks

McCoys Creek

Hogans Creek

Pottsburg Creek

Craig Creek

Broward River


Restored tributaries improve water quality and provide better habitat for fish, crabs,
manatees and oysters. Through replanting native grasses and trees and removing
concrete, they can help us adapt to rising waters and filter out pollution while enhancing
water quality. They allow recreational uses like fishing and they provide flood storage to
prevent property damage.

McCoys Creek (Duval) combined with Hogans Creek and the St. Johns make up the
Emerald Trail, a 20-mile recreational and transportation greenway that will connect
more than 14 neighborhoods in Jacksonville’s urban core. McCoys Creek is in the final
design phases for a 2.5 mile restoration that will reconnect historic wetlands and
improve fisheries and water quality. Construction is underway in some areas while
funding and design continue. This collaborative effort is being led by Groundwork
Jacksonville. Read more about the project.

Big Fishweir Creek (Duval) is a project led by the Army Corps of Engineers. The goal
is to restore habitat to manatees, fish and birds. Dredging and restoring the historic
channel, replanting native grasses and removing invasive vegetation are set to begin in
2021. Read more about the project.

Ocklawaha River (Putnam & Marion) is the largest tributary to the St. Johns. Its natural
connection to the river was severed by an ill-fated dam built in order to accommodate
barge traffic. While the Cross Florida Barge Canal was never finished, a dam on the
Ocklawaha remains. Help us Free the Ocklawaha River and find out more.



  1. SUPPORT PROTECTIVE WATER LEGISLATION – The 2020 Legislative Session is gearing up with water policy as a priority. Join us to support the most protective legislation by following us and keeping an eye out for our action alerts – like, RIDING THE BUS to Tallahassee with us during session – date coming soon!
  2. TAKE ACTION AT HOME – Be River Friendly – Reduce or eliminate fertilizer use, conserve water, grow native plants, and understand the threats and restoration needs of your tributary and the St. Johns River.
  3. REPORT – Report non-River Friendly pollution issues you see in your tributary by joining the Water Reporter app! Create your own profile, join the St. Johns Riverkeeper group and begin reporting algae bloomslitter pollution, construction site violations, and more directly to us. Download the free app on your iPhone or report on your computer.
  4. TELL YOUR FRIENDS! Dock Parties or Parties with a Purpose are ways that members can host a small party along a waterway and invite St. Johns Riverkeeper to join you in discussing the issues that impact our waterways and what we can all do to save our waters. Email for details.