DEP Hosts Update Meeting for Lower St. Johns River Tributaries

March.2.2015

JACKSONVILLE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting an annual update meeting for two restoration plans covering 25 Lower St. Johns River tributaries.

WHAT:      Meeting to Discuss Lower St. Johns River Tributaries Restoration Plans

WHEN:      Thursday, March 5

                  9 a.m. – noon

WHERE:    DEP Northeast District Office

                  Conference Rooms 1A and 1B

                  8800 Baymeadows Way West, Suite 100

                  Jacksonville, FL 32256

“The department and stakeholders have invested a lot of time and effort into restoring these waters,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “While there is still some work to be done, we continue to see improvements in tributary bacteria levels. The ongoing commitment and efforts by the stakeholders in the basin will ensure restoration is achieved.”

The Lower St. Johns River tributaries are impaired due to excess levels of fecal coliform bacteria, and restoration plans were adopted in 2009 and 2010 to reduce bacteria counts. Going forward, more focused efforts will be applied to waters that have not met this milestone.

Microbial source tracking is a new technology that identifies the origin of bacteria through DNA analysis. Knowing the bacteria’s origin allows DEP to more accurately identify and target potential pollutant sources. At this meeting, the department will be discussing the results of samples analyzed using source tracking technology as well as detailing the restoration progress for the tributaries in each restoration plan. Representatives will also outline future efforts that will be implemented to ensure that progress continues.

At 310 miles, the St. John’s River is the longest river in Florida. The Lower St. Johns River is an elongated estuary that extends about 100 miles from its union with the Ocklawaha River to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is lined with public lands and state parks in multiple areas, providing recreational opportunities for fishing, swimming and boating.

For more information on the Lower St. Johns River Tributaries restoration plans, please click here.

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