Riverkeeper: Development, pollution a 'double whammy' for St. Johns River

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The St. Johns Riverkeeper is calling on the community to protect the St. Johns River after a recent report found the water quality is getting worse. 

The annual State of the River report found the overall health of the river is declining, despite improving conditions for critical species like the bald eagle and Florida manatee. 

The annual River Report is more than 300 pages and takes a comprehensive and detailed look at the condition of the Lower St. Johns River Basin.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said that after looking at the report, her biggest concern is the increase in pollution.

READ: 2019 River Report on Lower St. Johns River Basin

“We’re seeing not only the real impact of climate change and sea-level rise but also an increase in pollution, which is a recipe for disaster," Rinaman warned.

The annual River Report found not only an increase in pollution but also in non-native animals and plants. It also found more development is negatively impacting the wetlands.  

“It’s really two-fold. If you’re losing wetlands and submerged grasses due to development and saltwater intrusion, the water is having a harder time filtering out pollution," Rinaman explained. "At the same time, we’re seeing an increase in pollution, so it’s a double whammy.”

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