New St. Johns Riverkeeper announced

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The St. Johns Riverkeeper organization has announced its next Riverkeeper.

Lisa Rinaman, former city of Jacksonville policy director, was named the new St. Johns Riverkeeper, the chief advocate and public voice for the St. Johns River.

Rinaman will assume the role in February from Neil Armingeon, who previously announced his intent to retire at the end of January.

"The St. Johns River plays a critical role in our region's quality of life and our economy. To ensure that this great natural resource is protected for generations to come, we must build on St. Johns Riverkeeper's past accomplishments and continue our campaign for a clean and healthy river," Rinaman said.

As a former senior staff member for Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, Rinaman has experience building consensus around issues and was instrumental in implementing numerous initiatives and policies that directly improved the environment, officials said.

Locally, her efforts included leading the creation and implementation of irrigation, fertilizer and Florida Friendly landscaping ordinances to better protect the St. Johns and local waterways. She also played instrumental roles in helping secure state funding for water quality improvements, organizing the city's highly successful Manatee Protection Plan, and pushing for programs to fulfill the city's commitment in the River Accord.

For the past two years, Rinaman has also served as a member of the St. Johns Riverkeeper Water Policy Group, a group that advocates for water conservation and reuse and policies that are more protective of local water resources. She has provided critical expertise, helping the WPG to formulate its priorities and develop and implement effective strategies.

"For years, Lisa has served as a tremendous advocate for the river in Jacksonville and Tallahassee," Armingeon said. "Under Lisa's leadership, our community can be confident that their voices will be heard and the interests of the river will be well-served when these issues are on the table."

Rinaman said she already has a to-do list, and at the top is the Georgia-Pacific pipeline.

"Obviously the pipeline is a big issue and that's something we are not supportive of. The pipeline construction is underway and the clock is ticking," Rinaman said.

Armingeon will leave the Riverkeeper post at the end of January and will assist with the transition.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.