Share The Website, View The Film
The River Returns
film and website were created for you. They contain inspiring and informative stories about the St. Johns River's natural resources and the problems that impact the river's future. You can help spread awareness of these resources by sharing them with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Get Out There
Public access to the river is almost limitless. The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) owns or manages more than 560,000 acres of land, providing endless opportunities for boaters, hikers, paddlers, birdwatchers, photographers, fishermen, artists, cyclists, and campers to see firsthand why the St. Johns is a unique and valuable resource.
For a free recreation guide to St. Johns River Water Management District lands, contact the SJRWMD
at 386-329-4500 or visit the district's website
You can learn about the benefits to the river of "going native" in your yard, such as saving time, money, and energy, as well as conserving resources,by joining the Florida Native Plant Society.
You can try visiting a nursery or garden center that specializes in Florida native plants, or request
that your favorite retailer stock Florida native plants. You can request a free guide, Real
Florida Gardeners, which lists native nurseries and garden centers from the Association of
Florida Native Nurseries.
And you can learn about the nine major principles behind Florida-friendly landscaping from the Florida
Yards and Neighborhoods program at the University of Florida.
Make Every Drop Count
You can do a lot around your home to help conserve Florida's water resources. From lawn irrigation to leaking toilets, there are numerous steps you can take to be a water saver, not a water waster.
In Northeast Florida, take advantage of the LawnSmart program that provides free one-on-one advice to help homeowners care for their lawns while saving money and water resources.
Offered by JEA, the Northeast Florida's electric, water and sewer service provider, LawnSmart can
be found through the JEA website
or by calling 1-866-664-8644 to schedule an appointment.
Order a free copy of the Waterfront Property Owners Guide for invaluable and comprehensive information about how to handle everything from pet waste to septic tanks,how to avoid spreading exotic plants and sea-life, and the best ways to do everything from washing boats to applying herbicides.
The St. Johns River Water Management District's mission is to "ensure the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the District and the state of Florida."
Learn more about aspects of protecting the St. Johns River by perusing the
, or calling the district to request
free publications at (386) 329-4540.
Get Involved, Stay Involved
You can also keep up-to-date about current river issues by requesting and reading Streamlines,
a quarterly magazine published for public outreach and available through
Join any number of nonprofit groups that advocate for the St. Johns, its tributaries, and its inhabitants. A few fine organizations worthy of your time and effort include:
Stewards of the St. Johns River
A coalition of citizens organized in 1990 to protect the river and its tributaries by serving as a
voice for the St. Johns.
St. Johns Riverkeeper
To request their newsletter, RiverWatch, or to get information about meetings, membership and events,
visit the Steward's website
A non-profit membership organization created to protect, preserve, and restore the ecological integrity of the St. Johns River watershed for current users and future generations through advocacy and citizen action.
Wekiva Wilderness Trust
The Wekiva Wilderness Trust is a citizens support organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment and promotion of nature-related activities within the Wekiva Basin.
Save the Manatee Club
The Save the Manatee Club is a membership-based, national nonprofit organization. Funds from the Adopt-A-Manatee program go toward public awareness and education projects, manatee research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, advocacy, and legal action in order to ensure better protection for manatees and their habitat.
Plug The Leaks
Runoff of automotive fluids from driveways and parking lots is a major contributor to contaminating the river. Service your car regularly. Frequent inspections and maintenance prevent leakage of motor oil, antifreeze, and other fluids that can wash into our waterways. Dispose of used motor oil and antifreeze at local recycling centers.
Be Septic Savvy
Maintain septic systems. Inspect them every couple of years and pump out as needed. Avoid using strong chemicals in the household. When rinsed down the drain, they can destroy the bacteria that treat the wastes in your system and the result is more pollution in waterways.
Contact Public Offices
Contact local, state, and federal officials to seek more information and to share your concerns about the St. Johns River. Key government offices dealing with matters pertaining to the future of the St. Johns River include:
See The Manatees
- St. John River Water Management District headquarters in Palatka, 386-329-4500;
- Department of Environmental Protection, Northeast District office, 904-807-3300;
- Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District office, 800-291-9405;
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Freshwater Fisheries, 850-488-0520;
- Office of the Governor, 850-488-4441.
The St. Johns River is a vital habitat for the manatee. You can easily see manatees during the winter months at Blue Spring State Park, the main feature of which is a magnitude one spring and tributary flowing into the St. Johns.
To report spilled fuel, sewage discharge, illegal dumping, fish kills, manatee distress, hazards to navigation, or other detrimental activities to the river, call the Stewards of the St. Johns River RiverWatch Hotline at 800-338-7757.
Know Your Drains
Storm drains are a leading source of pollution in the St. Johns River. The Stewards of the St. Johns River have created a limited number of city-approved stencils, available free of charge, for marking drains. To raise awareness about the harmful effects of storm drain dumping (of motor oil and grass clippings, for instance), you can sign up to use stencils to label the storm drains in your neighborhood by calling 800-338-7757.
Register to Vote
The most fundamental way to take an active part in governmental decisions is to vote.
Go to www.congress.org
and click on "Register to Vote." Then click on your state in the U.S. map.
Be Active, Locally
Spend an evening at a county or city commission meeting or workshop. Challenge local community covenants that require the planting of non-native grasses and plants that require lots of water and fertilizer. Lend an ear and let your voice be heard about what goes on in your water body, watershed, or community.
Make sure products are labeled biodegradable, nontoxic, or water-soluble. These readily decompose and will not pollute groundwater.
Dispose of pet waste or bury it away from water bodies. Avoid planting flowery ornamentals such as roses near water bodies as these can exacerbate the problem of waste contributed by wildlife. For instance, many species of ducks are fond of feeding on flowers, particularly roses.
When cruising in boats along the shoreline, speeds should not exceed 5 mph and boats should cause no discernable wake. Driving boats at high speeds cause shoreline erosion and re-suspend nutrients and sediments that cause turbidity and algal blooms. (Plus, the slow-moving manatees will love you for giving them a chance to get out of your way!)
Fish by the Rules
Purchase a fishing license and follow the conservation laws for fishing. All of the money spent on licenses goes to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for conservation of Florida's living resources.
Learn more about Florida’s Freshwater Fishing Regulations at the commision's website
Wash boats over land, away from the water. If it must be done on the water, use only phosphate-free and biodegradable products rather than conventional cleaners, polishes, and detergents which pollute water bodies. Use sponges and soft towels instead of abrasives to prevent scraping which can release paint chips and metals into the water.