Friday, November 02, 2007

A trip up the St. Johns River

I went up the river with a watchdog-conservationist group called the St. Johns Riverkeeper the other day. They rightly figure the more people know and love the river, the more they will want to protect it. I snapped these photos during the trip.

Like most of our water resources, the St. Johns, one of the few rivers to flow south to north, is threatened by development, by the growing need for water, and all the other indignities with which we can threaten it.

An anhinga (snakebird) dries itself on a dock alongside the river.

Plans to withdraw water from the river to satiate the thirst of the population boom in Central Florida are a major cause of concern. The various cities along the river are talking about pulling a total of 262 million gallons of water a day from the river. Treatment plants would pull salts, other minerals and pollutants from the drinking water. Guess what they'll do with the waste: discharge it into the river, thus not only reducing the water level, but increasing the water's salinity, threatening the river ecosystem.

What a mess we make of things.

The old fishermen who grew up on the river say it's gone downhill from the times of their youth, but the St. Johns is still gorgeous, and there's still plenty of fish and wildlife, even if the quantities of bass aren't there anymore.

The Riverkeeper believes it isn't too late to save the St. Johns, but like for the rest of the planet, time is running out.

Rivers are like people, I suspect, each with its own personality. The St. Johns is lush, darkly beautiful and mysterious.

A bald eagle watches our boat go by.

The water, the hyancinths and short vegetation, the taller grasses and the trees all provide habitats for wildlife on the the river. The trees are filled with snowy egrets.

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh, Pat, I hope the river conservationists can win this fight. It is beautiful.

What a terrible idea. To reduce the amount of water and increase the amount of salinity and minerals in the river is a recipe for an ecosystem disaster.

Just look at the eagle! Their comeback is going well - for now, but I fear not for long.