The St. Johns River has recently been plagued by numerous disconcerting problems — first, a rash of fish kills and algae blooms, then a spike in bird deaths and, more recently, the appearance of copious amounts of foam. The Jacksonville City Council has been making strides in focusing more attention on problems surrounding the river: Newly inducted City Council President Jack Webb pledged to make the river a top priority and, just a week after taking office, held a River Roundtable meeting in City Hall chambers discussing the problems plaguing the St. Johns. #
New efforts to combat river pollution have been ample — but are they effective? #
The city recently installed floating wetlands, or Beemats, in a stormwater pond periodically plagued by algal blooms. According to the St. Johns Riverkeeper’s blog, Beemats are used to offset nutrient saturation of the surrounding water: “As the plants mature and grow, they soak up nutrients and store in their tissues. By periodically replanting the Beemats, nutrients are removed from the water.” #
On Tuesday, design-firm Haskell Company unveiled two informational signs along downtown Jacksonville’s Riverwalk, encouraging “river-friendly” landscaping techniques. And Haskell began practicing what it is now preaching earlier this year, removing 10,000 square feet of St. Augustine grass that sat along the river. The grass, which is notorious for being a water-hog, was replaced with more environmentally friendly ground cover. #
The Census Bureau announced the results of the decennial process of reapportioning congressional districts by state Tuesday morning, and Republicans stand to gain from the results based on growth patterns in the South and West.