A team of researchers from the University of North Florida's department of coastal biology, joined by economists and ecologists from five institutions, was charged with determining the economic value of the St. Johns River.
While the researchers said that calculating the total value extremely difficult, researchers were able to quantify some of the river's key functions. For example, the St. Johns increases property values by nearly $2 billion. It brings $45 million to the state in ecotourism each year. And it helps people avoid $3 billion in damage each year from flooding, by giving rainwater a place to flow.
The state-funded report found that that 16 percent of Florida residents traveled to the St. Johns River for some form of recreation during the past year.
DOCUMENT: St. Johns River Economic Study
The $400,000 project presented to the St. Johns River Water Management District did not assign a total value, but News4Jax added up the various economic benefits cited in the study and came up with a total of $5.5 billion.