St. Johns Riverkeeper raises flooding concerns as hurricane season begins

Group looks at what future storms could mean for Jacksonville

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter

Main Street Bridge downtown Jacksonville Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As hurricane season begins, a local group is concerned about what future storms could mean for Jacksonville and the role the St. Johns River will play.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper held a demonstration Friday on the Southbank to discuss how future dredging projects and sea level rise could making flooding worse in Jacksonville. 

The Riverkeeper said last year’s historic flooding from Hurricane Irma could be just the beginning.

"I've lived in the north Jacksonville area my whole life and I've never experienced anything like Irma, said Dot Mathias, president of the North Jacksonville Civic Association. 

Mathias took part in the demonstration, voicing her opposition to future dredging on the St. Johns River. The project is set to make the channel 7 feet deeper.

“Once our estuaries are gone, once the salinity comes into our river, then we’re going to lose our dolphins, our manatees and our estuaries," Mathias said. 

Sea level rise was also a topic of conversation.

The Riverkeeper said dredging, rising water levels and tropical weather could create a perfect storm.

That's why the group wants to hear from the public. The Riverkeeper will be hosting a series of town hall meetings around the city this summer.

The town hall meetings are free and open to the public. Experts will be present to answer questions about the environmental issues. 

Below is the schedule for the meetings:

Thursday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Sun-Ray Cinema, 1028 Park Street, 32204

Thursday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Oceanway Senior Center, 12215 Sago Ave W., 32218

Friday, June 29 from noon to 1 p.m.
Jesse Ball DuPont Center, 40 E. Adams Street, 32202

Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m.
Intuition Ale Works, 929 E. Bay Street, 32202

Updates on the town hall meetings will be posted on www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org.

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