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 St. Johns. #
New efforts to combat river pollution have been ample — but are they effective? #
The city recently installed floating wetlands, or Beermats, in a stormwater pond periodically plagued by algal blooms. According to the St. Johns Riverkeeper’s blog, Beermats 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 Beermats, 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. #
Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, is mulling over the possibility of launching an investigation into Planned Parenthood at the request of an anti-abortion group that has written a report hoping to get Planned Parenthood defunded.