21th Century

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Jacket cover of River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River


"River of Lakes" is Published
In 2000, River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River, by author and adventurer Bill Belleville, was published. The Miami Herald described it as the "definitive book on the St. Johns." The last book to be similarly described was William Bartram's Travels - which was published in 1791.

Areas in red indicate massive wildfires that burned during the 1998 drought
© NESDIS/National Climatic Data Center


Drought and Wildfires
Florida experienced its driest year on record during a drought dating back to 1998, the worst drought period in the State since the 1930s. The dry weather, which continued several more years, fueled severe wildfires as well as a search for alternative drinking and irrigation water sources. One potential source: the St. Johns River.

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Mercury and Health Advisories
A report published by The Florida Public Interest Group ranked Florida No. 2 among states for the most lake acreage with posted mercury pollution warnings and No. 6 for miles of rivers covered by fish consumption advisories due to mercury pollution. Florida's Division of Environmental Health issues ongoing fish consumption advisories for many water bodies, including the St. Johns River.

Hurricane Francis, one of three to hit Florida in 2004, covers the entire state
© NOAA/Department of Commerce


Three Hurricanes Hit Florida
Three back-to-back hurricanes hammered the St. Johns River watershed with high winds and heavy rains. The river flooded along its length, in places causing septic systems to overflow, roads to crumble and people to lose their homes. However, flood controls built as a part of the restoration of the Upper St. Johns River basin performed as designed.

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Total Maximum Daily Loads
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection presented its first five-year report on the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program to the legislature and Governor. The report identified multi-agency efforts to establish TMDLs for waterways and practices that minimize non-point source pollution from agricultural and non-agricultural sources as positive outcomes of the initiative.

The State acquired private on the St. Johns River acreage adjacent to the Deep Creek Conservation Area (in green)
© St. Johns River Water Management District


State Purchases St. Johns River Propery
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced plans to purchase 731 acres of the last remaining, undeveloped stretch of shoreline in the Lower St. Johns River Basin, making it the first Florida Forever purchase of land along the St. Johns River. The property, to be managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, is located in one of the fastest growing counties in Florida.

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